The following points highlight the top four types of nuts. The types are: 1. Coconut 2. Cashew Nut 3. Walnut 4. Almond.
Type # 1. Coconut (Hindi – Nariyal):
Cocos nucifera L.
Paltnae or Arecaceae
1. Because of its many uses coconut tree in India is called Kalpa Vriksh, i.e., tree of heavens.
2. Fruit of the coconut plant is a three-sided dry drupe.
3. It consists of a smooth ring or exocarp (Fig. 74), a well-developed fibrous mesocarp which is reddish-brown and hard stony shell or endocarp.
4. Seed is enclosed by the stony endocarp.
5. Coconut milk is the endosperm of the seed. It is sugary and makes a refreshing drink.
6. Kernel is the most useful part of the coconut. It is generally converted to ‘copra’ by drying. Copra yields the commonly used coconut oil and oil cake.
7. The fibrous husk yields coir, a well-known fibre used for mats, cordage, brushes, etc. This Fibre is hollow, and hence light, strong and elastic. Fibres are resistant to sea and freshwaters.
8. The hard shell or endocarp is used for fuel or container. Shells are used as hookahs. They are also carved and decorated, and also used for making combs, buttons, bangles and musical instruments. Finely ground shell is used as filler in plastics.
9. Coconut oil is used for best soaps, cosmetics, shaving creams, shampoos and other toilet preparations.
10. Coconut cake is used as cattle and poultry feed.
11. Desiccated coconut is used in confectionery and bakery products.
12. Coconut water contains plant growth substances, and is used in experimental culture of plant tissues.
13. After hydrogenation, the oil is manufactured into ‘vegetable ghee’. Oil is also used as a hair oil.
Type # 2. Cashew Nut (Hindi – Kaju):
Anacardium occidentals L.
1. Cashew nut or ‘Kaju’ is cultivated in several countries, including Brazil, Peru, Mexico, West Indies and India.
2. In India, it is cultivated in Malabar, Kerala, Karnataka, Andhra Pradesh, Tamil Nadu, Goa, Orissa, Maharashtra and West Bengal.
3. Seeds of the plant are the source of cashew nut or ‘Kaju’.
4. Besides its use as a famous dry fruit, cashew nuts are used in confectionery and also yield an edible oil.
5. Fleshy swollen pedicel (cashew apple) is juicy and edible.
6. Famous wine “kaju fenny” or “Goa fenny” is prepared from its seeds.
7. Cashew shell-oil is used in manufacture of varnishes, typewriter rolls, inks, gums, paints, water proof paper, oil cloth, etc.
8. India is one of the largest producers and exporters of kaju in the world.
9. Certain resins and plastics are also prepared from cashew nut shell liquid.
10. Cashew shell oil is a drying oil and is a rich source of phenol.
Type # 3. Walnut (Hindi – Akhrot):
Juglans regia L.
1. Walnut trees are important for both their nuts and their timber.
2. In India, it is cultivated in Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh, Khasi Hills, and hilly regions of U.P.
3. Edible seeds are a rich source of ascorbic acid.
4. Bark is used as a dye and for cleaning teeth.
5. Walnut shells are used for manufacture of decolourizing charcoal, activated carbon, synthetic resin adhesives, linoleum, paper tiles, etc.
6. Wood of this plant is used for beautiful cabinet work, musical instruments, rifle parts, etc.
7. The characteristically furrowed kernels are cotyledons of the seed.
Type # 4. Almond (Hindi – Badam):
Prunus amygdalus Batsch.
1. This famous tree is a native of Eastern Mediterranean region and cultivated in India chiefly in Kashmir and Himachal Pradesh for its edible seeds.
2. Seeds of both sweet (var. dulcis) and bitter (var. amara) varieties of almonds yield an oil which is used in perfumery.
3. Almond fruits are inedible drupes which contain a tough, fibrous rind surrounding the stony shell and the edible seed or nut.
4. Seeds are also roasted or salted. They are also sometimes made into a paste to be used in making bread or cake.
5. Delicious almond extract or sherbats are also prepared.
6. A bitter glucoside, amygdalin, is present in bitter almonds.