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


2 Answers 2


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).

  • 3
    Meat of the nut or "nutmeat" is correct - yourdictionary.com/nutmeat
    – Jacob G
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 14:28
  • 2
    @JacobG interestingly enough, that also validates "Kernel" Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 14:30
  • 7
    Anyone else giggle at the term nutmeat or am I just being really immature?
    – Jay
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 15:15
  • 4
    @Jay those are not mutually exclusive options, you know ;) Commented Jan 5, 2012 at 15:15
  • 2
    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
    Commented Jan 5, 2012 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.

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service and acknowledge you have read our privacy policy.

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.