Brazil nuts have been utilised by the native people of the Amazon for untold centuries, they were introduced to the outside world in 1569 when Juan Alvarez Maldonado was offered them by the Cayanpuxes Indians on the Madre de Dios River. The Spanish called the nuts “almendras de los Andes” or “almonds of the Andes.”
Dutch merchants began trading for Brazil nuts in the early 1600s, but it was not until the beginning of the nineteenth century that the tree was given its botanical name. The German botanist Alexander von Humboldt and French colleague Aime Bonpland went on an expedition to Brazil in 1799; following their return to Paris five years later, they named the nut after von Humboldt’s friend Claude Louis Berthollet. Brazils became a common Xmas delicacy in Britain in the 19th century, and the market for the nuts soared as the settlers who went into the forest to harvest rubber also collected the nuts. When the market for rubber dropped, the demand for Brazil nuts remained consistent and has continued to support the castaneros who make their living cropping the wild trees. The value of the nuts is dependable enough to serve as currency in the districts where they grow.
Use a nut as a candle!