Almond

 

Brown, pointed ovals; dark brown, wrinkly skin; cream-colored flesh; sweet, buttery.

 

Good for: desserts, snacks, garnish; milk good for dairy substitute; flour is gluten-free.

 

Pairs well with: chocolate, chiles, caramel, coffee, honey, fruit.

Beech Nut

 

Triangular hull surrounds sweet, tender seed; chestnut-like flavor.

 

Good for: baking, breads, cakes; extracted oil very versatile.

 

Pairs well with: caramel, chocolate, honey, fruit.

Brazil Nut

 

Large, brown nuts; cream-colored flesh; high fat content.

 

Good for: desserts, snacks, pesto, sauces, nut mixes; oil good for salad dressings.

 

Pairs well with: garlic, chocolate, basil, fruit.

Cashew

 

U-shaped, light brown; delicately flavored.

 

Good for: snacks; commonly used in Indian, Asian cuisine.

 

Pairs well with: curry, maple syrup, chiles, ginger, basil, chocolate, fruit.

Chestnut

 

Round, dark brown shells; wrinkled, tan nut; astringent when raw; cooked-potato-like texture; sweet, delicate flavor.

 

Good for: roasting, baking, boiling; flour good for fritters, desserts, pastas, porridge.

 

Pairs well with: bourbon, vanilla, coffee, chocolate, caramel, fruit.

Hazelnut (Filbert)

 

Spherical, smooth shell; dark brown skin; fragrant; sweet, rich flavor.

 

Good for: confections, desserts, spreads, pesto, sauces, beverages.

 

Pairs well with: fruit, caramel, chocolate.

Macadamia Nut

 

Spherical shell; round, cream-colored nuts; waxy, tender texture; sweet.

 

Good for: desserts, confections; powdered nut good for meat/seafood crusts.

 

Pairs well with: coconut, fruit, ginger, seafood, chocolate.

Pecan

 

Wrinkly brown nuts that vary in size; crunchy yet tender.

 

Good for: desserts, confections, garnish, salads; pulverized pecans good for crusts/breading on poultry/seafood.

 

Pairs well with: rum, cinnamon, blue cheese, fruit, chocolate.

Pistachio

 

Small, two-sided shell that can be easily split; green, irregular kernel; sweet, subtle flavor.

 

Good for: desserts, salad toppings, snacks, sauces, garnish.

 

Pairs well with: ginger, vegetables, fruit, soft cheeses, herbs, salmon.

Peanut

 

Signature textured two-nut shell; cream-colored nut covered by a papery dark brown skin; buttery, hearty.

 

Good for: desserts, confections, sauces, spreads, garnish, pesto, snacks; used in a variety of cuisines.

 

Pairs well with: chiles, game, seafood, poultry, chocolate, fruit.

Walnut

 

Light brown shell; wrinkly tan nuts; omega-3-rich; sweet, oily.

 

Good for: sauces, pastas, desserts, salads, snacks, garnish.

 

Pairs well with: bacon, soft cheeses, fruit, caramel, chocolate, cinnamon, rum.

Pine Nut

 

Small, cream-colored nuts; soft texture; sweet, buttery flavor.

 

Good for: pesto, sauces, pilafs, couscous, salads, desserts.

 

Pairs well with: pasta, garlic, curry, herbs, seafood.