Baru nut, from the Brazilian Cerrado to the world


Baru or cumbaru (scientific name: Dipteryx alata) is the fruit of the baruzeiro, an imperious tree native to the Brazilian Cerrado. From its fruit comes the nut, full of good nutritional aspects.

In fact, the baru nut has more nutrients than peanuts and most other nuts. Almost 30% of its weight is made up of protein. It is also rich in vitamin C, iron, polyphenols, flavonoids, and anthocyanins. Hence, it is presented as a superfood.

According to the market research journal Fact.MR, in the last few years the demand for it has increased in Brazil and abroad. Consumption is estimated to grow 25% per year between 2019 and 2029. Moreover, the profitability of these products is likely to grow over the coming years with their increasing use in the cosmetics and personal care industry. The growing use of baru oil to help revitalize human hair and skin is predicted to bolster its application in the health & wellness industry.

The baru kernel has a high content of crude protein (26.3%) and lipids (33.3%). It is also a source of calcium, phosphorus, and manganese, and has a higher energy value than the pulp: from 480 to 560 kcal per 3.5 oz. The extracted oil is 75.6% composed of unsaturated fat.

The almond’s flavor is pleasant and less accentuated than peanut’s, and it is consumed in several ways: toasted as a snack and in numerous dishes. In any recipe, baru almonds may replace cashew nuts, peanuts, or walnuts, including in cereal mixes. After grinding, we have a kind of flour that take part in recipes for cakes, pies, puddings, cereal bars, and cookies.

The fruit’s pulp contains carbohydrates, lipids, protein, and fibers, and it can be added to recipes for bread and cakes to increase their functional quality. In the Cerrado tradition, the tree’s bark and leaves are also used to make tea with medicinal aspects.

Farming life
The baru nut is traded through extractivism, a sustainable activity since it is necessary to preserve the trees to obtain the product. The more than 700 species in the Brazilian Cerrado make this sustainable, non-timber extraction possible.

In addition, the baru tree is pointed out by EMBRAPA as one of the most promising native species for use in integrated crop-livestock-forestry systems, in which grain crops, trees, and herds are grown and raised in the same space. Besides, the inside part of the fruit (endocarp) can be used as coal with high efficiency to produce heat.