Brazil nut – Preparing
Genus: Bertholletia – Family: Lecythidaceae
The spirit of the Brazil nut tree is one of careful preparation and focus as we concentrate our efforts on successfully completing something we have been working on for a long time.
Brazil nuts, Bertholletia excelsa, are grown and harvested almost exclusively in pristine forests versus plantations. These magnificent trees are one of the primary rainmakers in the Amazon Rainforest. A single tree can pump 260 gallons a day up its trunk, through its leaves and into the air. For this reason, Brazil nuts are carefully collected in the wild as a way to generate income without destroying the tropical rainforest it lives in.
Most nuts are gathered by workers known as castanheiros, meaning chestnuts gatherers in Portuguese. This is due to the fact that most locals refer to these nuts as “chestnuts”. The gathering of nuts is now monitored to ensure that young trees are able to sprout from seeds lying on the forest floor. This requires a return to an ethical process of preparing for harvest.
Brazil nut trees are large deciduous trees that can reach 160 feet tall and can live to be 500-1000 years old, making it one of the largest and oldest trees in the Amazon rainforest. The exotic wood of a Brazil nut tree is of excellent quality which caused it to be over harvested. Brazil nut wood should not be confused with Brazilian rosewood. Logging has been strictly prohibited in all three countries where it grows (Brazil, Bolivia, Peru), but there is mounting political pressure to continue logging the Rainforest for its wood and to make room for cattle ranchers. Preparations are underway to prevent further exploitation of one of our planets most valuable bioregions.
The Brazil nut fruit takes 14 months to mature after large-bodied bees pollinate the blossoms. The exterior of the fruit is a hard, woody shell resembling a coconut that weighs up to 4.5 lbs. The shell is cut in half exposing 8-24 triangular seeds that each contains a Brazil nut. These woody seeds are tightly packed together like orange segments. Brazil nuts and Brazil nut oil are high in protein and omega-6 fatty acids along plus other essential vitamins and minerals such as Selenium. They help to support thyroid function and reduce inflammation as well as being good for our brains.
Brazil nuts are the only species in the genus Bertholletia. The genus is named for French chemist Claude Louis Berthollet (1748 – 1822.)
Message: The Brazil nut spirit encourages us to be prepared to see beyond the status quo as we identify new ways to improve our life and our world. We are being reminded that a “less is more” approach is a smart choice for sustainable growth. It may not be the easiest path but with ingenuity and a good plan we can improve those areas of our life we never thought possible before. The skills we have learned are going to open new doors once we complete what we began. Our preparation and patience are about to be rewarded with continued opportunities that will benefit everyone.
Challenge: Perfectionism, obsessive-compulsive behavior that prohibits natural growth. Life is organic and imperfectly perfect.
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