Think you’re a nut buff? Take the quiz and find out!
Let’s test your Brazil nut knowledge.
1. True or False: Brazil was named after the Brazil nut tree.
Brazil is the only country named after a tree. The country came to be known as ‘Brazil’ following the Portuguese naming of brazil-wood ‘Pau-brasil’. Brazilwood became a valuable trade in the 16th century, due to its bright red colour which could be used as a dye. The country we now know as Brazil is believed to have been densely populated with brazilwood, soon becoming ’Terra do Brasil’ or ‘Land of Brasil’.
2. True or False: Brazil is the leading exporter of Brazil nuts.
It may sound surprising given the name, but the leading exporter of Brazil nuts is not actually Brazil…it is Bolivia! Bolivia is the leading exporter of the nuts, accounting for 78% of the world’s production between 2017-2018.
3. True or False: The fruits of the Brazil nut tree can kill you.
Okay, so maybe the fruits themselves don’t kill you, but given the towering height which Brazil nut trees grow, a knock on the head by one of these falling fruits is enough to kill a person. Each pod can weigh up to 2.3kg and can hurtle towards the ground at a speed of 50mph! Fatal incidents are not uncommon, which is why harvesters wait until nearly all the fruit has fallen to the ground before the go out to harvest.
4. What are Brazil nuts full of which make them so good for you?
Brazil nuts are an incredible source of selenium, in fact, one single nut provides nearly 100% of your daily dose. Selenium is a mineral shown to enhance the power of antioxidants, working to prevent the formation of malignant tumours, along with other health benefits. Be careful though, eating too many Brazil nuts can lead to toxic levels of selenium in the body - you shouldn’t eat more than four or five per day.
5. Are Brazil nut harvests affected by the weather?
Because Brazil nuts are harvested from the wild, it's impossible to control external weather conditions. Severe weather changes can completely disrupt the number of fruits the Brazil nut tree is able to produce. For example, between 2016-2017, there was a sharp drop in output of the Brazil nut, due to a lack of rain across South America. Little rain meant that the fruits dropped from the tree too early – resulting in less fruit and smaller nuts. This, of course, is bad news for the local harvesters who depend on the product for their livelihood.