Raw Organic Nuts and Seeds
Natures Original Fast Food
Your Source for the Freshest Raw Organic Nuts and Seeds Online
Offering Shopper Rewards and a Nut of the Month Club!
Enroll in our Get Your Nuts FREE Program and Save on your future nut orders.

To View our selection of Nuts and to Place an Order Go Here

Call Customer Service at: 754-273-7688

History of Nuts

Table of Contents:
The History of the Almond Tree Coming SOON!
The History of the Black Walnut Tree Coming SOON!
The History of the Brazil nut Tree Coming SOON!
The History of the Cashew Tree
The History of the Hazelnut  Coming SOON!

The History of the Macadamia Tree Coming SOON!
The History of the Pecan Tree
The History of the Pistachio Tree
The History of the Walnut Tree

Come back and visit often as we add the more histories of your favorite nuts along with their nutritional content.

The History of the Almond Tree
An Almond Tree with ripening Almonds

The History of the Black Walnut
The Black Walnut Tree

The History of the Cashew nut Tree

The Cashew Tree

The History of Cashew Tree

    The Cashew tree is originally native to northeastern Brazil, in the area between the Atlantic rain forest and the Amazon rainforest centered in the provinces known today as Ceara, Piaui and Rio Grande do Norte.

Cashew’s English name derives from the Portuguese name given to the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives the name acajú given it by the indigenous Brazilian tribe called the Tupi.

The Cashew tree was reportedly discovered in Brazil by the Portuguese colonists in 1578 and as the Portuguese colonization spread to Africa and India, the Portuguese brought the cashew tree to Mozambique, Africa and then India in the 16th century.

It was initially planted by the Portuguese in these countries to reduce coastal erosion, not for fruit or nut production. The cashew tree flourishes in the sand of open beaches.

Cashews spread out across the world following the path of Portugal’s spice trade outposts, from Africa to Indonesia.
Cashew trees can thrive in hot humid regions and hence are distributed in countries near the equatorial region with most of the cashew producing countries found in those areas. Cashew trees grow between the latitudes of 25 degrees north and south of the equator.

The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae and is a close relative of mangos, pistachios, poison ivy and poison oak.

It is a short, stocky, low-spreading, evergreen tropical tree that usually grows about 40 feet high.
The branches spread very wide in an umbrella shape, and the tree's width may equal or exceed its height. In some trees, the branches may become too heavy and touch the ground, putting out secondary roots at the points where they contact the ground.

World's Largest Cashew Tree

There is a cashew tree in the Brazilian city of Parnamirim in the state of Rio Grande do Norte that has spread itself in this method and is recorded as the largest Cashew tree in the world. It was planted in 1888 on the  sandy beach of Parnamirim by a fisherman named Luiz Inácio de Oliveira and as of the year 2009 covers an area of 8,970 square yards or 80,729 square feet (7,500 square meters).
The world’s largest cashew tree produces an estimated 80,000 cashew apples a year!

Cashew Tree Botany

The cashew tree has large, leathery green leaves that grow 4 to 8 inches long and 2 to 3 inches wide. The simple leaves have prominent pinnate venation, smooth margins, and are oval to elliptical in shape.
It is important that cashew trees go through a dry season to stimulate flower growth and fruit production and hence nut production.
In the dry season, flowers appear on 6 to 10 inch long panicles (clusters of racemes, which are similar to small branches) at the ends of the branches. The tiny, clustered flowers begin as green and turn yellowish pink to reddish pink, sometimes with stripes. They each have five slender petals and are about 1/4 inches across. Separate male and female and unisexual flowers may be found growing together on the same panicle.

In India cashew trees flower once a year, between the months of November and January. The fruit ripens fully within 2 months after the set of the flowers.
Insects and bats are the major pollinators of cashew. The honey bee is the major pollinator of commercially grown cashews in the North east Brazil.

Fruit are borne singly or in small clusters, and mature in 60-90 days. When both the cashew fruit and nut are ripe they fall to the ground together. If it lands in moist soil, the cashew seed can germinate within 4 days of falling to the ground.

One of the many distinctions of the Cashew nut is that it is attached to the lower portion of the cashew apple, which looks like a fruit, but actually is the enlarged stem of the cashew tree. The cashew apple is rich in nutrients and contains five times more vitamin C than an orange.
A cashew is a seed that grows outside of the fruit flesh, unlike say an apple or a peach, where the seed grows inside of a fruit.

The Cashew nut seed has within itself a whole kernel and this delicate kernel is covered by a membrane and a kidney shaped thick outer shell which protects the kernel from the time of harvesting to processing. Between the cashew kernel membrane and its kidney shaped outer shell is a caustic toxic shell oil that is known as: cashew nut shell liquid or CNSL. It is collected during the roasting process and is used to manufacture brake linings, insect repellents, resins, varnishes, and paints.

Most cashew trees start bearing fruit in the third or fourth year, and are likely to reach their mature yield by the seventh year if conditions are favorable. The average crop of Cashew nuts from a mature tree is in the range of 15 to 25 lbs.(7-11 kg) a year. The cashew tree is known to have a life span of 50-60 years.
In commercial production cashew trees produce nuts for about 15-20 years.

Cashew Tree Soils and Climate

   Cashew trees are tolerant of sandy poor soils and flourish when the soil pH is slightly acidic; in the range of 4.5-6.5.

It is usually found from sea level to an altitude of 3,000 feet (1,000 meters), in regions with annual rainfall as low as 20 inches (500 mm) and as high as 150 inches (3,750 mm).
For maximum productivity, good soil and adequate moisture are essential. Optimum cashew growing conditions include an annual rainfall of at least 35 inches (889 mm) and not more than 120 inches (3,048 mm). The tree has an extensive root system, which helps it to tolerate a wide range of moisture levels and soil types, but commercial production is only advisable in well-drained, sandy loam or red soils as it grows poorly in heavy clay or limestone.

Cashew trees can grow in areas of high rainfall and humidity, but does not produce well in soil that does not drain water well because standing water will damage the roots and cause them to rot.

Cashew trees have no cold tolerance and are susceptible to frost damage below 50 degrees Fahrenheit (10 degrees Celsius).

Cashew trees are grown from seeds and have a large variation in growth habit, quality of crop and fruit and nut yield. There are very few named varieties of cashew trees, as the cashew tree cross-pollinates freely.

Cashew Nut Production

It was not until the nineteenth century (1800 to 1900) that cashew tree plantations were developed to harvest both the cashew apple and the cashew nut..

Cashew Nuts were used by Brazil’s native inhabitants before the arrival of Portuguese to Brazil in 1500.
It wasn’t until the 1920s that the international cashew nut trade began as the Indian cashew processing industry was developed and organized by a Sri Lankan living in India named Roch Victoria.

Roch Victoria developed advanced methods for removing the caustic shell oil that surrounds the Cashew kernel in its shell, which had limited the cashews marketability.

Exports from India were 45 tons in 1923 and grew  to 1350 tons by 1939.
As international demand for Cashews outstripped local Indian Cashew production, India began importing Cashews from Africa.

India to this day, is the largest processor of Cashews in the world, importing raw cashews from many other countries and supplying more than half of the world’s processed cashew nuts. Approximately 25 to 50 percent of nuts processed in India are imported from other countries.

In the early 1970s, the majority of global cashew production took place in African countries, the two largest producers being; Mozambique and Tanzania on Africa’s east coast. Over the next thirty years production shifted from Africa to Asia, with the Asian countries of India and Vietnam emerging as the world leaders in cashew production and processing.
The largest commercial producers of cashew nuts today (2012) are India ,Vietnam, Nigeria, Brazil, and Indonesia.

At present (2012), Cashews are not produced commercially in the USA, though Cashews are grown in some areas of South Florida as a backyard fruit and nut tree.

Cashew Harvest

Once the Cashew nuts are ripe they naturally fall from the tree.
The harvesting and processing of cashew is very labor intensive as the
cashew nuts, still attached to the cashew apple, are collected from the ground by hand in most producing areas.
Average yields worldwide in commercial cashew orchards are about 600 lbs/acre of cashew nuts.
North of the equator in countries such as in India and Vietnam, cashew harvest season extends from March to June.
In Brazil, the cashew crop is harvested during the period of November to February. 

Cashew Nut Processing

    The presence of caustic cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL) in the shells makes cashew processing more difficult and hazardous than for any other nut crop.

After harvest, the nuts are dried in the sun or in simple tray driers and stored for processing later.
The raw cashew nuts collected from the growing areas are moved to factories for processing. The processing of cashew is done by any of the four methods:
Sun Drying, Drum Roasting, Oil Bath Roasting or Steam Cooking.

The most prevalent method of processing Raw cashew nuts is Drum Roasting which starts with the kernel still inside its hull being placed in a roaster and heated at 212 degrees Fahrenheit  (100 C)  for 10 minutes.
The hull and kernel are then separated and placed in drying ovens where they are dried at 176 degrees Fahrenheit (80 C) for 12 hours.
They are then cooled to room temperature, peeled, graded and packed.

In its raw form right out of the hull, the cashew kernel is soft, white and meaty. When roasted, it changes color and taste to what most consumers are familiar with today; a slightly golden brown color with a rich flavor.
Today some organic cashews are being processed at lower temperatures. This process is very labor intensive and assures that the cashew is raw, not roasted.

India is the largest producer, processor and exporter of cashews in the world, and as of the year 2009 became the largest consumer of cashews surpassing the USA.
India and Brazil are the major cashew exporters, with 60 percent and 31 percent respectively of world market share. The major importers of cashews in the year 2011 are the United States (55 percent), the Netherlands (ten percent), Germany (seven percent), Japan (five percent) and the United Kingdom (five percent).

Cashews contain the highest levels of Zinc, Manganese, Magnesium, copper and iron when compared to other nuts.

One (1) ounce of Cashews contains only 157 Calories; one of the lowest calorie levels of the top 9 nuts consumed in the world.

The History of the Pecan Tree

pecan trees in grove
History of the Pecan
The pecan, Carya illinoinensis, "Illinois nut", is the only one of the 8 major tree nuts of the world that is native to the United States. It’s native range was from southern Iowa, Illinois, Missouri, and Indiana, west into New Mexico, east to western Kentucky, North Carolina, South Carolina, and western Tennessee, south through Georgia, Alabama, Mississippi, Louisiana, Texas, Oklahoma, Arkansas into Florida.
Pecans are also native to Mexico and were found from Coahuila south to Jalisco and to Veracruz.
Spanish explorers were the first Europeans to write about pecans in historical documents. In
1533, Lope de Oviedo observed the pecans along rivers in what is now Texas and wrote in his journal that "there were on the banks of this river many nuts, which the Indians ate."
The Spaniards first brought the pecan into Europe, Asia, and Africa beginning in the 16th century. Pecans were favored by early European settlers, and natives too, because pecan trees grew in abundance along waterways; which were the highways of their day. Native pecans were also easier to shell than other North American nuts and they had a good flavor.

The native Indians used the pecan as survival food in the fall and winter, using the ground
pecans as flour extenders and eating them as us modern people do, right out of the shell;
natures perfect storage container.
Native Americans also used Pecans medicinally for dermatitis and as a remedy for
tuberculosis.It is even thought that the highly intoxicating native Indian drink "Powcohicora" was made using pecans. The English word hickory comes from that native word Powco-hicora.

French and Spanish colonists settling along the Gulf of Mexico in the late 18th century
started raising pecans for export, with New Orleans as the major center for exporting pecans to the rest of the USA and the world. In 1805 advertisements in London periodicals were stating that the pecan was; "...a tree meriting attention as a cultivated crop."
Thomas Jefferson planted pecan trees, "Carya illinoinensis,” Illinois nuts, in his nut orchard at his home Monticello, in the state of Virginia. Thomas Jefferson then gave his neighbor George Washington at Mount Vernon, a gift of pecan trees, "Illinois nuts", which George Washington wrote about in his journal in 1775.

A native pecan tree grown from seed will have different characteristics then it’s parent
tree. In the earliest attempts to commercially grow pecans, this meant that an orchard of
100 native trees, each grown from a pecan nut, could produce 100 different types and
quantities of pecan from each of the 100 pecan trees. This characteristic of the pecan tree
kept early pecan production low until a discovery by Abner Landrum of South Carolina in 1822. Landrum discovered a pecan budding technique, which grafted pecan trees derived from superior wild native varieties to pecan seedlings. Landrum’s discovery was lost to pecan growing until 1876, when a gardener from Louisiana named Antoine, rediscovered Landrum’s technique. By the 1880’s, Antoine’s discovery was practiced by Louisiana and Texas nurserymen who began improved variety pecan propagation on a commercial level.
The propagation of the improved variety pecan began the start of the modern pecan growing and shelling industry that we know today.

Today in the year 2011, the U.S.A. is the world’s largest producer of pecans growing more
then 80% of the worlds pecans. Pecans are grown commercially in14 states. Georgia is number one (1) in pecan production, followed by Texas, New Mexico, Oklahoma, and Arizona.Other US states such as California and Missouri also grow pecans as a commercial crop.
Through trade, the pecan has spread around the world and is grown commercially in Mexico,Australia, Brazil, Peru, Israel, and South Africa.
Organic pecans are grown mainly in the states of Texas and New Mexico.

About the Pecan
The name "pecan" is a American Indian word of Algonquin origin that was used to describe "all nuts requiring a stone to crack.”
Pecan is pronounced in various parts of the US as pi-KAHN, pi-KAN, PEE-kahn, or PEE-kan.
Pecans are a warm weather crop, requiring some winter chilling, limiting U.S. growing areas to the US southern states and the US southwest.
Pecans can be grown from USDA hardiness zones 5 to 9, provided that summers are hot.
Pecan trees may live and bear edible nuts for more than three hundred (300) years.
Pecan trees are wind pollinated and pollen from a tree miles away can pollinate another Pecan tree.
Pecan nut harvest in the USA is typically around mid-October.
Native pecan trees are severely alternate bearing, and are occasionally not harvested at all in “off” years. Alternate bearing means a large nut harvest in one year, and a small nut
harvest in the following year.
Through grafting what are known as improved varieties, the modern pecan industry grew to what it is today. Over the years, more than 1,000 pecan seedlings have been named and grafted as varieties, but only a few of these become established as outstanding commercial producing varieties.

The History of the Pistachio tree

pistachio cluster on kerman tree

The pistachio is a small tree native to mountainous regions of Greece, Syria, Iran, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, Turkey and western Afghanistan. It was first cultivated in what is now Iran and then by trade, was introduced to the Greek and Roman Mediterranean world. It was mentioned in a 6th century European Food Book as a culinary nut.

The tree was introduced into the United Sates in 1904 in the state of California and became a commercial crop in 1929.

The Pistachio tree grows up to 30 feet (10 meters) tall. It is a deciduous tree that sheds its leaves in winter.
The Pistachio tree is a desert plant that is fairly hardy in the right conditions, and can survive temperature ranges between 14°F in winter to 104°F in summer. They need a sunny position and well-drained soil. Pistachio trees do poorly in conditions of high humidity, and are susceptible to root rot in winter if they get too much water and the soil is not sufficiently free draining. Long hot summers are required for proper ripening of the fruit, which signal they are ripe by the outer shell splitting open with an audible pop!
To pollinate the Pistachio requires separate male and female trees. Pollination is by wind, not by bees or insects as is the Almond tree. One male tree produces enough pollen for eight to twelve nut-bearing female trees.
Each tree will produce about 110 pounds of pistachios a year.

The number one producer of Pistachios in the world is currently Iran, with the United States in second place rapidly moving to become the number one producer of Pistachios.The US states growing Pistachios are California, Arizona, New Mexico and Nevada.
Organic Pistachio production is growing as consumers of Pistachios demand pesticide and chemical free foods. 

The History of the Walnut Tree
(Picture Credit- California Walnut Board)

 walnut trees in orchard

English Walnuts, Juglans regia, are deciduous trees, about 30–130 feet tall, with 7–35 inch pinnate leaves. Walnuts are very drought resistant.

There are 21 known species of Walnuts that range across the northern temperate latitudes of Europe through the Eur-asian continent east to Japan. In the western hemisphere the walnut grows from southeast Canada west to California and south to Argentina. The modern Latin name, Juglans, derives from Jupiter glans, "Jupiter's acorn" which means a nut fit for a god. Regia means literally "Royal, regal or of a king". Walnut lovers throughout history will agree with that definition.

Another early Latin name for the walnut was nux Gallica, "Gallic nut" or the nut from Gaul; Southern France and Northern Italy.
The English word walnut derives from Old English word; wealhhnutu, literally "foreign nut", wealh meaning "foreign" and hnutu meaning nut. This old English meaning gives weight to the theory that walnuts originated in the middle east region. For it is in the middle east country of Iran that one of the worlds largest orchards of walnuts is located.and in the neighboring country of Kyrgyzstan Walnuts are the dominant forest tree.Through early ancient Mediterranean trade the walnut eventually spread through out the world.  
The walnut is also called the common walnut, Persian, English, or Carpathian walnut.

Walnuts bear male and female reproductive organs on separate flowers on the same tree and are pollinated by wind blowing the pollen from the male to the female flowers.

There is the American native walnut; the Black walnut or Juglans nigra.
It is a slightly bitter tasting walnut with a very hard oval shell that grows throughout the USA. It is prized more for its wood for furniture than for its nuts.

Walnuts are produced commercially in 48 countries on 1.6 million acres.
Chandler and Hartley are the most prevalent varieties of English walnuts grown in the USA , with more than 90% of all USA commercial production occurring in the state of California on more than 200,000 acres The USA is the second largest producer of Walnuts in the world after China. Iran is the third largest producer.(data as of year 2004) Organic walnuts are a very small percentage of the 3.3 Billion pounds produced every year world wide.