What Are Baru Nuts?
This new "super nut" is everywhere, but does it belong in your shopping cart?
Baru nuts started making their way to the U.S. about a year ago. They got some serious buzz for being the "healthiest nut in the world." Grown in Brazil, these nuts are touted for their impressive nutrient profile. Until now baru nuts were hard to find, but a company called Barukas has changed all that.
At this year’s Natural Food Expo West, the largest natural food show in the U.S., I passed by the Barùkas booth and spoke to co-founder and CEO Rodrigo Figueiredo who was kind enough to film a short video on what baru nuts look like and how they grow. Figueiredo explained that there is one baru nut per fruit (and it’s a pretty large fruit!) that grow on trees that can grow as tall as 30 feet high. The fruit is only gathered once it falls from the tree because that is when the nut has matured inside of the fruit and ready to be cracked open. I was so intrigued by this fruit that I reached out to Justin Tanner, co-founder of Barùkas to get even more info into this interesting nut.
How Are Baru Nuts Harvested?
According to Tanner Barkùkas nuts aren’t exactly harvested, they are foraged in the wild from late-July until November. During this brief collection season, the barùkas fruit falls naturally from baruzeiro trees. Barùkas organizes villagers in the Cerrado, Brazil to collect the fruit. The fruit is then boiled and cracked to extract the nut. The nuts are then roasted until they have a distinct crunch, taste and aroma with a subtle chocolaty note.
Although baru nuts are the name of the nut, Barùkas distinguished themselves because of their high food safety standards for collection. “Historically, the nuts of the dipteryx alata (the scientific name for the tree) were not well suited to export because the methods of collection, nut extraction and roasting couldn’t meet the high food safety standards required by many countries,” explains Tanner. “Our company created the name Barùkas to signify that nuts of the dipteryx alata tree with our label are guaranteed to be a high quality product that meets all food safety requirements.”
Because the baruzeiro tree from which the nuts grow use their deep roots to tap into underground sources of water, there is no requirement for artificial irrigation. Other nuts, like almonds, for example, are known for their high water usage.
So, Are Baru Nuts Really the Healthiest Nut?
One quarter cup of Barùkas nuts contains 140 calories, 10g fat, 2g saturated fat, 6g protein, 12g carbs, and 5g fiber. These nuts contain 25% less fat and more fiber compared to other nuts. They also provide numerous minerals including potassium, calcium, magnesium, manganese, copper and zinc.
Interestingly, the outer shell of the nut is edible and packed with fiber and antioxidants. It has a slightly sweet taste when roasted. Barùkas is releasing a trail mix combining the nut and chips (from the outer shell).
Baru nuts are a nice addition to your healthy nut repertoire. Use over salads, sautéed vegetables or in any recipe calling for pecans, almonds or peanuts. If you want to give them a whirl you can check out the Barùkas website or find them on Amazon.