Frequently Asked Questions
- What is the difference between regular almonds and “baru almonds”?
The short story: baru seeds are often referred to as “baru almonds” throughout current scientific literature because of translation mistakes, but are in fact a completely different species, being edible seeds from a Legume, and completely unrelated to almonds or any other tree nut.
The long story: it’s a massive translation mistake. 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”.
- Does it need a lot of water, as almonds do?
No. Baru trees grow in a savanna called Cerrado, an environment with two seasons – dry and rainy. It bears its fruit at the end of the dry season, once a year, and spends the rest of the year relying on the usually scarce resources offered by the local soil, having a low water footprint and actually aiding with the maintenance of the water tables. This in part explains the low moisture content of the fruit and its seeds. They also do not require soaking as a part of their processing.
- Is it organic/non-GMO?
One thing must be said before anything else: the harvesting of baru seeds are the polar opposite of the current mass destruction of the Cerrado for the planting of soybeans and other commodities, usually GMO crops.
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 and have high genetic variability. There are no farms producing baru seeds, with no commercial strains, or “cultivars”, as they are currently foraged by local communities.
- Baru trees are an ancient part of the Cerrado ecosystem, being cousins of the Central American almendro tree, and were considered commercially in large scale only until very recently.
- Certifications assume they’re dealing with established crops in specific farms, which is a way of protecting against corporate greed regarding commodities, but those certifications do not account for something as unique as baru.
- 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 very nature.
- What is the nutritional difference to other edible seeds?
Basic nutritional values per 100g:
|Baru||Almond||Brazil nuts||Cashew nuts||Hazelnuts||Pistachios||Pecans||Pine nuts||Peanuts||Walnuts|
|Total Carbohydrate (g/100g)||13.6||21.55||11.74||32.69||17.6||28.28||13.55||13.08||21.26||17.86|
Lipid content percentage:
|Baru seed||Peanut||Brazil Nut||Cashew Nut|
Mineral content per 100g:
|Baru||Almond||Brazil nuts||Cashew nuts||Hazelnuts||Pistachios||Pecans||Macadamias||Pine nuts||Peanuts||Walnuts|
Alves AM, Fernandes DC, Borges JF, Sousa, AGO, Naves, MMV. Oilseeds native to the Cerrado have fatty acid profile beneficial for cardiovascular health. Rev. Nutr., Campinas, 29(6):859-866, Nov/Dez( 2016).
Sousa AGO, Fernandes DC, Alves AM, Freitas JB, Naves MMV. Nutritional quality and protein value of exotic almonds and nut from the Brazilian Savanna compared to peanut. Food Research International, 44, 2319-2325 (2011).
- 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. Genetically, they’re from a very early branch of Papilionoid Legumes called Dipterygeae, a distant relative of other, more familiar Legumes, such as lentils and beans. There are no known cases of any allergies or cross-allergies.
- 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. 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. Eating raw baru seeds means you’ll not digest their proteins.
- Can they be sprouted?
Possibly! We’re definitely working on sprouted baru.
- Why is it so caloric?
Baru seeds are seeds, which have stored energy to sprout. However, its fat content comes from monounsatured and polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are “the good kind” of fat, and take a lot longer to digest than sugars. Add that to the very high protein and fibre, and low carbs content, and we have a food that actually burns energy to be digested.
- 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 Midwestern Brazil, as well as recent scientific and market interest in it. Canada is one of the first countries to have Baru seeds on the market!