GOING NUTS

One of the oldest trees, the Ginkgo ` native to China, is around 1,400 years old and continued to grow in Japan despite the devastation of the bombing of Hiroshima. It produces fruit but the nuts are not particularly palatable. The oldest remains of walnut trees were found in Iraq, dating back to about 5000 BC.

Trees producing Pistachio nuts have been cultivated since Biblical times. Some trees are still thriving after 700 years of growth.
These nuts are unique in that the tree requires little or no rainfall but high heat. For this reason, Iran delivers the perfect climate, as with other Middle Eastern countries.

Many tourists when travelling in Israel visit Jericho and can view the 2000 year old tree named after Zacchaeus who supposedly climbed this to have a view of Jesus passing through the town.
Correctly named, this is a Sycamore tree and the nuts produced were proclaimed to be delicious bought by the tourists.
However, with tongue in cheek ` the tour guide informed them that these were merely peanuts coated in a sugary mixture !

Nuts are generally considered to be expensive but it depends on where they are grown and exported to. The yield per anum and climatic factors that come into play.
South Africa does produce a number of varieties. Walnuts for example were brought in by the 1820 British settlers and Macadamia trees were already growing in the botanical gardens in Durban in 1915.

It is difficult to state whether some are better than others, but on the whole nuts are considered to be full of nutrients, better raw and unsalted. Nutritionists generally agree that a handful of nuts per week is a guideline.

Not recommended are those that are glazed, possibly with fructose corn syrup, almonds with honey and sea salt, chocolate “health bars” that invariably are packed with peanuts and hot spicy barbecue varieties laden with sodium.

Alternatively, crushed nuts can be used as a coating for meat, fish and chicken before frying, pressed into a dish to create a pie crust, be substituted for flour and stirred into smoothies.
Finally, organic oils are significant in the beauty industry like almond, avocado and sesame oil and extractions from the apricot kernel.

You may agree with the above as against the greed for palm oil, causing gross destruction of rain forests and devastation to eco systems.
Be savvy in terms of reading ingredients and mindful of choices.

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