My 3-year-old and I were sharing our traditional mix of Christmas nuts. He's getting pretty good at cracking them open by himself, and wanted to know what the part he eats is called. Anyone have an authoritative answer?

Christmas nuts, from Wikipedia


I've always heard the "meat" of the nut, or "nutmeat". Alternate terms include "kernel" or "seed" or, well, "nut".

If you were to ask a botanist, the edible part is the embryo and the endosperm, though it varies depending on which type of seed you're referring to. Also, for a few seeds—not sure if any of them are called nuts—we eat the seed coat as well (e.g., beans).

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    Meat of the nut or "nutmeat" is correct - yourdictionary.com/nutmeat – Jacob G Jan 5 '12 at 14:28
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    @JacobG interestingly enough, that also validates "Kernel" – Yamikuronue Jan 5 '12 at 14:30
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    Anyone else giggle at the term nutmeat or am I just being really immature? – Jay Jan 5 '12 at 15:15
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    @Jay those are not mutually exclusive options, you know ;) – Yamikuronue Jan 5 '12 at 15:15
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    Seed, kernel, and often nut are the entire thing, including the shell. I've always heard 'meat' as the culinary term; I'm going to edit to add in the biology names. – derobert Jan 5 '12 at 17:16

Iv actually always known the inside of a peanut named the mouse, I don’t believe anybody that calls it a embryo. This part of the nut is definitely called a mouse.

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