Brazil nuts are the large seeds of the Brazil Nut Tree, an enormous evergreen tree of the Amazon district. Its round fruits/ pods with a dark brown colour, can weigh more than one and half kilos and resemble large coconuts. Brazil nuts only grow in a specific area of the Amazon rainforest of Brazil, Bolivia, Colombia and Peru. The trees grow to around 40 metres in height, with a trunk diameter of about 2 and half metres. The tree can live for up to 1,000 years. Each tree produces up to 1,000 grapefruit-size pods each containing 20-40 individual brazil nuts. The pods drop during the rainy season from January to March. Nut gatherers fill bags weighing up to 70kg. These are then taken from the forest to shelling and drying factories.
Brazil nuts are sold in their shell and in shelled form. They are eaten raw, roasted, salted. They are often used in ice creams, chocolate, bakery and confectionery products. This hearty tree nut is a great source of selenium, and many other compounds.