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Brazil nut kernels

Brazil nuts are gathered in the wild and are subject to strict import rules. The Brazil nut kernels from wholesaler August Töpfer & Co. are characterised by a particularly high quality.

Origin of the Brazil nut

Brazil nut kernels are sometimes also called Pará nuts or Brazil chestnuts, but they are all the same thing. As the name suggests, the origin of Brazil nuts lies in Brazil. The term “Pará nuts” reveals their association with the port city Pará, located on the estuary of the Amazon River. In the 16th century, Spanish colonists used Brazil nuts to feed the military, as they contain a high amount of energy and nutrients. In the 17th century, Dutch seafarers and merchants finally exported the popular Brazil nut kernels and other exotic fruits to Europe.

Today, the Brazil nut plant grows in the tropical rainforests of South America, for example in Venezuela, Columbia and Peru. Alongside the rubber from rubber trees, the Brazil nut tree is one of the most important sources of income for South American countries. Brazil, the Ivory Coast, Peru and in particular Bolivia enjoy the greatest significance in terms of the quantity of Brazil nuts produced and exported. Bolivia is responsible for around 75 percent of global production. The product is exported via Chilean sea ports. However, geographical obstacles as well as flooding and heavy rainfall make this operation rather difficult.

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Cultivation and harvest of Brazil nuts

Like many nut kernels, Brazil nuts grow on trees. The Brazil nut tree is a tropical fruit tree and can reach a height of up to 60 metres. It differs substantially from other trees used for the cultivation of nut kernels . The Brazil nut tree is part of a sensitive ecosystem and can be neither bred nor cultivated. For instance, the yellow flowers of the tree can only be pollinated by a single type of bee. The habitat of this bee species is limited to the tropical regions of South and Central America. For this reason, our Brazil nuts are not from cultivation but wild, natural sources. It usually takes ten years before the tree produces the coveted fruits. The tree can reach an age of up to 500 years and allows the harvesting of a huge number of Brazil nut kernels during its lifetime. From a botanical perspective, Brazil nuts are not actually nuts but the seeds of the capsule fruit. It has a woody structure, resembles a coconut and contains the edible, popular seeds of the Brazil nut tree.

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The harvest of Brazil nuts takes a long period of time and is carried out during the rainy season between November and May. Gathered from the wild, the fruits are collected from the ground laboriously by hand. Harvesting the ripe fruits from the tree is not possible due to the tall, thin trunk. Unlike other nut varieties, however, gathering the fruit provides a very high yield since one fruit can contain up to 30 Brazil nuts. This yield is also reflected in the appearance of the fruit, which is up to 30 centimetres large and three kilograms in weight. Care must therefore be exercised when harvesting Brazil nuts, because the fruits fall to the ground from a height of 60 metres. A Brazil nut tree produces around 8,000 nuts per year, depending on the age and size of the tree.

Nutritional value of Brazil nuts

In general, nut kernels are characterised by a high amount of healthy fatty acids, a high protein content as well as various vitamins, nutrients and trace elements. The contents of Brazil nuts likewise make the product a healthy snack. Their high calorific content often gives nut kernels a bad name. But researchers have so far been unable to determine any correlation between nut consumption and obesity in clinical studies.

Unsaturated fatty acids

With a fat content of more than 66 grams per 100 grams, Brazil nuts are roughly two thirds fat. Of this fat, more than 55 grams are simple and complex unsaturated fatty acids. These have health benefits for the heart, circulatory system and blood vessels, and regulate the concentration of LDL cholesterol. Alongside macadamia nuts, Brazil nuts are among the nut varieties with the highest oil content. Moreover, Brazil nut kernels are an important source of protein and a valuable food especially for people who follow a vegan diet or engage in lots of sport. By contrast, the carbohydrate content is low, making Brazil nut kernels ideal for low-carb diets.

Selenium content

The human body is unable to produce the essential trace element selenium itself. Plants, however, are a source of selenium as they absorb it through their roots. The Brazil nut sets itself apart with its high selenium content not only from other nut kernels but from plant-based food generally. While 190 milligrams of selenium per 100 grams of Brazil nut kernels may not seem a lot, this makes the product one of the richest sources of selenium. Even just two nuts covers the daily nutritional requirements for the element which is hugely important to the human body. It has a positive effect on the production of thyroid hormones, binds heavy metals and thereby promotes detoxification processes in the body. What’s more, the element helps the body defend itself against free radicals and strengthens the immune system. The amino acids contained in Brazil nuts make it easier for the body to absorb the valuable trace element selenium.

Minerals and other nutrients

Brazil nuts contain useful amounts of the minerals calcium, magnesium and phosphorous. These nutrients provide the health benefits of Brazil nuts that are particularly important for children, who have higher nutritional needs. The contents of Brazil nut kernels have a beneficial effect on the structure and density of bone tissue and on the renewal of bone cells. In addition, the minerals also positively affect the transmission of stimuli, water balance and the stomach-intestine tract. The antioxidant effect protects against cardiovascular diseases and cancer. Furthermore, Brazil nuts contain the amino acid tryptophane. Together with selenium, this is used to form serotonin – known as a happiness hormone.


Some people have allergies with respect to peanuts and other nut varieties. Brazil nuts, however, trigger undesired harmful reactions comparatively less frequently and are therefore also suitable for allergy sufferers in many cases. Having said this, the proteins contained are closely related to pollen proteins. Thus, in rare instances the consumption of Brazil nut kernels can result in complaints such as swelling or burning. Where this is the case, these nuts should not be consumed.

Nutritional table for Brazil nuts

Nutritional value per 100 grams
Calories Approx. 650 kilocalories
Protein Approx. 13-17 grams
Fat Approx. 66-68 grams
Fibre Approx. 5-7.5 grams
Carbohydrates Approx. 4 grams

The range of wholesale Brazil nut kernels

Many nut varieties are most popular in roasted and salted form. Conversely, Brazil nuts in the wholesale trade and other distribution channels are typically left untreated. The pure variety contains the most nutrients, having an especially positive effect on health when consumed. The taste of Brazil nuts is considered sweet, almond-like and oily. This also makes the Brazil nut a popular nut for use in cakes and other sweet baked goods. Moreover, the product is ideal for use in salads, pesto and other savoury dishes. Unprocessed Brazil nuts are also popular in nut mixes.

If you buy Brazil nuts in the shell, please bear in mind that the shell is very hard and accordingly heavy. As a rule of thumb, the Brazil nuts themselves only account for around half of the overall weight. Unshelled Brazil nuts are characterised by a longer shelf life. However, toxic moulds may hide inside the shell. For Brazil nut kernels without the shell, make sure the surface of the nut is smooth, white and firm. When the shell is removed, the oil of the Brazil nut leaks and comes into contact with oxygen. Since this can potentially result in mould growth, proper storage is particularly important.

In the wholesale trade, flaked Brazil nuts are also available. These are especially ideal for further processing and for cooking and baking. Some recipes call for soaking the Brazil nuts for about six hours first. This process helps wash out “anti-nutrients”. These prevent the body from absorbing the valuable nutrients of the Brazil nut kernels.

Organic Brazil nuts with and without the shell can be found in our extensive range available wholesale. Brazil nut kernels from organic cultivation are free from pesticides and substances harmful to health. Organic Brazil nut kernels are imported from Bolivia and Peru.

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The importance of Brazil nut oil for the cosmetic and food industries

Shelled and dried Brazil nut kernels are processed to obtain a high-quality, cold-pressed oil which is used both in food and as a component in premium skin care. During the cold pressing process, a large amount of the nutrients and unsaturated fatty acids are retained. The mild flavour makes the oil especially versatile for use in a wide range of dishes. The cosmetic industry values the product as it provides the skin with moisture and vitamin E. The nourishing effect is used in various products including body lotions, shampoos and cremes.

Our Brazil nut kernels are certified:

Buy wholesale Brazil nuts from August Töpfer & Co.

When buying Brazil nuts, it’s important to ensure correct storage – especially for shelled and processed products. But even with Brazil nuts in the shell, it is a good idea to choose a cool, dry storage place and to seal the product in air-tight packaging. This prevents the formation of mould and aflatoxins. These can also be present after cooking and baking and are considered carcinogenic and harmful to the liver. For this reason, it is advisable to refrain from consuming spoiled Brazil nut kernels even after heating and to always store the product correctly.

Strict controls and threshold limits when importing Brazil nuts have reduced the quantity imported but they also represent an important minimum standard of quality. As a traditional wholesaler, we attach utmost importance to high quality in all our products. We therefore only offer Brazil nuts to order that meet the high standards. As an importer and distributor of nut kernels, we are able to examine the quality thoroughly and on site in Hamburg. The use of UV light makes it possible to test Brazil nut kernels for potential mould infestation in the export countries and in the wholesale trade.