Brazil nuts, formerly known as cream nuts and Para nuts, are the large extremely hard-shelled seeds of the Brazil nut tree. The Brazil tree is an evergreen native to the Amazon forests of South America. The tree produces large spherical fruits that resemble coconuts. They take about 14 months to mature and are 4-6 inches in diameter and weigh about 4 pounds each. Inside the fragile outer shell of the fruit is a tough and fibrous inner shell about 1/4 inch thick, which contains about 12-24 individual Brazil nuts closely packed together. When the large fruits are ripe, they fall to the ground. Almost all Brazil nuts come from wild trees scattered throughout the Amazon Basin. While most of the Brazil nut production comes from Brazil there is production in Bolivia, Peru, Columbia, the Guianas, and Venezuela. A mature tree can produce between 250-500 pounds of unshelled nuts a year. Brazil nuts may be eaten raw, roasted, salted in ice cream and in bakery items.
1 cup brazil nuts = 3 cups macadamia nuts