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brazil nut


Botanical name: Bertholletia excelsa



The name "Brazil nut" already indicates where the nut originates. They are found in Brazil, Peru, Bolivia, Venezuela and the Amazon jungle, but Brazil is the most important exporter of these nuts. The export harbour is in the state of Pará, which has given the nut its German name, Paranuss.

Brazil nut trees cannot be cultivated in plantations; thus the nuts come only from wild-growing trees.

The Brazil nut has been known in Europe since the 18th century.


Brazil nuts are harvested between November and March. They are available in Germany the year round, shelled and polished. They are sold mainly during the winter.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

Brazil nuts do not grow singly on the trees; they develop in large, spherical, dark-brown capsules, known in their countries of origin as pots or ouricos. A tree bears between 100 and 600 such capsules. These are 15–30 cm long and weigh 2–3 kg; they lignify as they ripen.

The trunk of the Brazil nut tree is up to 50 m tall and very thin, which means that the fruits cannot be picked. Rather, the fallen capsules are collected from the ground.

The capsule contains 25–40 Brazil nuts in a fan-like arrangement. These are triangular and approximately 4 cm long with a convex back. The rough, dark-brown shell is thin but very hard and woody. Beneath it is the yellow-white nut kernel, which is covered with a brown skin.


The Brazil nut is rich in fibre and contains, compared with other nuts, few carbohydrates and much fat. The nuts as a group are rich in minerals, but Brazil nuts are at the top of the list and contain large amounts of calcium, potassium, magnesium, iron, and selenium. They have high contents of vitamin E and especially vitamin B1. 100 g contain:

Brazil nut kernels
Energy (kcal)
Water (g)
Protein (g)
Fat (g)
Carbohydrates (g) (g)
Fibre (g)
Vitamin E (mg)
Vitamin B2 (mg)
Niacin (mg)
Folic acid (µg)
Vitamin C (mg)
Potassium (mg)
Sodium (mg)
Calcium (mg)
Magnesium (mg)
Iron (mg)
Saturated fatty acids
Monounsaturated fatty acids (g)
Polyunsaturated fatty acids (g)

Quality criteria, optimal storage conditions

Make sure that the nuts are stored cool and dry. In this way they can be kept for up to one year.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

Brazil nuts are popular in Germany as a snack to nibble on. Unfortunately, it is not easy to remove the shell from the kernel. You might try the following tricks: Soak the nuts before cracking them in boiling water for 20 minutes, or freeze them. This makes it easier to remove the shell in one piece when you crack it.

Already shelled Brazil nuts are a component of nut mixes. They are also used in baked goods and in the production of sweets.





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