Frequently Asked Questions
- Is it organic/non-GMO?
First things first: baru seeds are the polar opposite of GMO crops. They are wildcrafted from native trees in one of the oldest biomes in the world and are, along with many other native species, being deforested and replaced by GMOs as we speak.
However, we and our suppliers don’t have the seals for now. There are reasons for that:
- The baru trees are not cultivated commercially yet. There are barely any farms producing baru seeds, with no commercial strains, or “cultivars” – they are locally foraged by Cerrado communities, where available.
- Certification agencies assume they’re dealing with established crops in specific farms, which is a way of protecting the consumer against corporate greed, but those agencies do not account for something as unique as baru. This is not something you find every day!
- Thus, Canadian Organic, EcoCert and non-GMO seals would require annual certification from every single Baru co-op supplier hand-picking baru fruits from the wild, something unfeasible in an underdeveloped country like Brazil and even a bit bizarre considering its undomesticated status.
- Why are they also called “baru almonds” or “baru nuts”? What is the difference between regular almonds and “baru almonds”?
The short story: baru seeds are often referred to as “baru almonds” or “baru nuts” throughout scientific literature due to translation mistakes, actually being edible seeds from a primitive Legume called Dipteryx alata Vogel, and completely unrelated to almonds or any other tree nut.
The long story: it’s a linguistic mess. Brazilian scientists apparently couldn’t reach a translation consensus in Academia, and articles referring to Dipteryx alata seeds in English can be found using three terms – baru nuts, baru seeds or baru almonds. The correct term, however, would be Baru seeds, since they are not related to nuts or almonds phylogenetically. In Portuguese, however, they are called “castanhas de baru”, literally “baru chestnuts”, or “amêndoas de baru”, literally “baru almonds”, which adds even more to the confusion.
- Does its cultivation require a lot of water, as almonds or pili nuts do?
No. Baru trees are adapted to use as little water as possible, and along with other deep-rooted trees from the Cerrado, in fact, enable underground water streams to eventually reach the Amazon. More importantly, trees like baru are what make the Cerrado the “spring central” of South America. The processing of their fruits and seeds also do not require soaking.
- I’m allergic to peanuts and/or tree nuts. Will they trigger an allergy on me?
No. Baru Baron’s baru seeds are certified peanut free and nut free and there are no known cases of any allergies or cross-allergies. Some hard science: genetically, they’re from a very early branch of Papilionoid Legumes called Dipterygeae, a distant predecessor of other, more familiar Legumes, such as lentils and beans.
- Why dry-roasted and not raw? Don’t they lose nutritional value when roasted?
Baru seeds do not lose nutritional value when dry-roasted and, as a matter of fact, improve their digestibility. Eating raw baru seeds means you won’t digest their proteins. Some hard science: this is due to the inactivation of a trypsin inhibitor component through the roasting process. Trypsin is an enzyme that makes the digestion of a number of proteins possible in the human body.
- How high is their roasting temperature?
We roast them lightly at around 350ºF (200ºC) so their proteins will be digestible, but every other nutrient remains undamaged.
- Can we soak or sprout them? How are they regarding phytic acid?
Baru seeds are usually high in phytic acid and could have low bio-availability of zinc and iron according to some studies. Since raw baru seeds are not available in Canada yet and sprouting is not an option, for now, the best way to remove their phytic acid is by soaking them.
- Why is it so caloric?
Because they are seeds, which usually need a lot of energy to sprout. Their calories come from healthy fats, taking a lot longer to digest than carbs. This digestion takes even longer due to their high fibre content, which delays the absorption of these calories.
- Can I eat it every day? How much?
As you would with any fiber-rich vegetable. The latest studies recommend 20g of them daily for weight and cholesterol control, somewhere around 15 seeds.
- If baru seeds are so amazing, how come this is not a thing?
For a number of reasons, such as a very recent infrastructure built in their native area, as well as very recent scientific and market interest in it. Canada is one of the first countries to have Baru seeds for sale!
- Is baru from the Amazon? How is it related to the Amazon rainforest?
Baru trees mostly grow in the South American Cerrado savanna, which lies between the Amazon rainforest and the Atlantic forest (seen below). The Cerrado is part of a huge water cycle crucial to the Amazon, where deep-rooted trees such as baru play a vital role. However, they are very different biomes. The Amazon rainforest has patches of its own savanna on the border of Venezuela, Brazil and Guyana, all with very difficult accessibility.
All baru seeds available commercially anywhere in the world (not only from Baru Baron) are currently sourced from the Cerrado drylands, due to these being places less isolated from urban areas. However, you can find the trees in patches of Cerrado in Bolivia and Paraguay.