A drupe in every bite

drupes-1LIKE a bud bursting on a winter twig, a strange word has sprung from dormancy and entered my lexicon: drupe. You may have been familiar with this word since childhood, even knowingly engaged in plucking a variety of drupes from trees. But it’s a new word for me. Almonds aren’t nuts – they are drupes, I have discovered. I can’t say my world has been shattered by this revelation, but its axis has shifted a couple of degrees . . .

Nuts are nuts, but drupes are fruits with a thin outer skin, soft pulpy flesh and a hard centre that encloses a seed. Apricots, plums and cherries are drupes. So are almonds, it appears – a fact I became aware of while planting an almond tree a couple of days ago.

I feel cheated because I liked the notion of planting a little nut tree in Spain (“the king of Spain’s daughter”, and all that). In fact, I haven’t felt so cheated since I bought four tickets to see Lonnie Donegan in Newcastle, three days before he died in a Peterborough hotel room. Got my money back, mind.

The revelation has spurred a flurry of research, on my part, into nut world – or non-nut world, as I should call it; perhaps even fake-nut world or alternative-nut world. Coconuts aren’t nuts, they are drupes. Brazil nuts aren’t nuts, they are seeds contained in a pod. Walnuts aren’t nuts either; they are drupes. Cashew nuts are the seeds of the cashew drupe. Peanuts are a type of pea that grows underground. Quite where conkers fit in is a mystery as yet unsolved.

Where this leaves the Christmas nut bowl I dare not say. My investigation has revealed that only hazelnuts and sweet chestnuts are true nuts. Meanwhile, almond trees are blossoming all over Andalucia, so there will be a bumper drupe crop this year.  Better get the drupe-crackers out. I’ll leave you with some pretty pictures.

drupes-2 drupes-7 drupes-6 drupes-5 drupes-4 drupes-3

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20 thoughts on “A drupe in every bite

  1. Knew the word vaguely but certainly never thought of almonds as anything but nuts … though now you say it I see the resemblance to apricot stones, especially having cracked them open for the apricot kernels (to up the pectin content of jam).

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  2. Beautiful photos, especially the first one!

    I knew almonds weren’t nuts (don’t remember ever hearing ‘drupes’ though) but didn’t know walnuts and brazils weren’t. I’m not surprised to hear peanuts are like a type of pea as they’re pretty similar to ‘pignuts’ which we dig out of banks in England (pretty little white flowers a bit like hedge parsley but not such a spreading planthead).

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  3. Dare I ask, but what’s the difference between a nut and a seed. I don’t know what to think anymore having read all that. (I wonder why Trading Standards have never got onto it, They tried to ban Mars bars because they weren’t from Mars.)

    Anyway, great photos and shame about Lonnie Donegan. That’s skiffle musicians for yer.

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    1. Yes, in the days when you could leave your door open, people used to be dependable. They didn’t die a few days before they were due to appear in concert. Certainly not in Newcastle, anyway.
      I thought about looking into the difference between a nut and a seed but decided not to go there. Glad I didn’t. Trading standards should try banning Smarties because they didn’t make me any cleverer.
      Cheers, Alen

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        1. Sorry, I’ve not been keeping up with your adventures lately but for some reason I wan’t getting any notifications of your posts. Anyway, I see all is well down Andalucia way. Are you an Irishman yet? I got notification that I can become a Norskie any time I choose, so continued hassle-free travel and freedom of movement for me even if we’re not in the EU. Then just wait for Theresa to win the next indyref for us and dual citizenship! Ta-da! 🙂

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          1. I must admit, I haven’t been keeping up with stuff either. Must be the changing of the seasons.
            No Irish passports yet. We’re waiting for Anne’s sister to get hers first, because there appears to be more expense attached to the process than we realised. But the way things are going, we will have to proceed either with the Irish passport, an independent Scottish passport, or even drive up to Norway for a Norwegian passport. The only definite in the whole scheme of things is that there is no way we will be going back to the UK.

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