The animated film The Nut Job, which opens on Friday, follows a scheming scurry of squirrels as they attempt to pull off the biggest nut heist of all time. The plot got us thinking: Of all the various kinds of nuts in the world, which is the best? As we soon discovered, there are oh so many varieties out there – choosing one ultimate nut was a daunting task.
And yet, somehow we managed it. Below, see our official, unimpeachable rankings of all the nuts worth talking about. Some blowhards might point out that, strictly speaking, not all of the items on the list are nuts. (Yes, we all know peanuts are technically legumes). But we would advise those people to familiarize themselves with the concept of “culinary nuts” and then relax.
On to the rankings!
Are you a squirrel? No? Are you a paleolithic hunter-gatherer? No again? Then there’s no reason for you to eat an acorn.
There’s a reason you’re much more likely to sing about chestnuts roasting on an open fire than actually eat them – they’re hard! We don’t trust a nut that takes this much preparation to eat. What is it hiding?
18. Kola Nut
Hey, did you know that the kola nut is the basis for the flavor of the fizzy cola you drink today? Congratulations, now you have something to talk about at dinner tonight.
17. Brazil Nut
This just in: Brazil nuts are good for you! Wait: Brazil nuts are bad for you! While you’re trying to figure it out, make sure you don’t stand under a Brazil nut tree, because they can fall on you and kill you, too.
16. Pine Nut
They taste great in pesto, they really do. But have you ever eaten one plain? You may end up with a case of mysterious “pine mouth.”. Even the government doesn’t know what it is!
15. Nuts (Barbra Streisand Film)
This legal drama received a slew of mixed reviews upon its release in 1987, with Roger Ebert calling it “a futile exercise in courtroom clichés, surrounding a good performance that doesn’t fit.”
A controversial opinion, to be sure. Who doesn’t love coconuts? But think of all the wonderful things that make you love coconuts. Piña coladas? The pineapple’s doing the work there. Mounds bars? It’s chocolate. Coconuts are a great accessory, but put them in the spotlight and all thoughts of taste fade in comparison to their weird texture.
Almond Joy? No. Almond Mediocre.
12. Pine Nut (Member of Chris Pine’s Fanbase)
Chris Pine is an attractive, charming man. We have no quarrel with the #PineNuts.
11. Macademia Nut
When you want a nut that tastes basically like all the other nuts, but isn’t, try a macadamia nut.
10. The Nutty Professor (Eddie Murphy Film)
Could it be a hit today? We’re skeptical, for various reasons. (The dimming of Eddie Murphy’s star is one, the inevitable accusations of fat-shaming is another.) But it was the eighth-biggest movie of 1996, and it had people saying “Hercules, Hercules!” all summer long, which none of these other nuts did.
Hazelnuts are the thing that separates Nutella from plain chocolate syrup, so there’s no way we’re leaving them out of the top 10.
Finally, we enter the heavy hitters. Cashews are a pleasant addition to many world cuisines, but we have to admit, we always feel a little silly about eating them plain. Watch out – the curved part might get stuck on your bottom lip!
7. “Coconut” (Harry Nilsson Song)
It features imperfect medical advice (neither limes nor coconuts appear on this helpful list, but “Coconut” has become Nilsson’s most beloved song, for good reason: it’s fun, simple, and utterly unforgettable.
How many amazing things can you put pecans in? Pralines. Brownies. Pecan pie! Plus, they taste swell on their own.
5. Nut (Fastener)
It’s not a stretch to say that modern industry could not exist without these nuts. Thanks for keeping things bolted together, dudes!
Yes, we were annoyed by the click-bait-y ad campaign, too. But you can’t deny that pistachios are one of the most fun nuts to eat. They also have the coolest look of any nut in the game right now. Love that green.
Like pecans, walnuts go on anything. (Personally, we can’t get enough of them on salads.) They’ve got the perfect nut consistency, with just the right amount of crunch. We don’t even care that they’re on Wikipedia under “List of ineffective cancer treatments.”
2. Peanuts (Comic Strip)
What is there to say about Peanuts that hasn’t been said a million times before? It’s an American classic, a holiday staple, a comics milestone. The mere thought of it gives millions of Americans warm and fuzzy feelings, despite the fact that its primary themes are insecurity and neurosis. Love of Peanuts is the closest thing this country has to an official religion.
George Washington Carver had it right: Peanuts are the best kind of nut. They are great plain. They are great salted. They are great covered in sugar. They are great in M&Ms. They are great in peanut butter and they are great on pad thai. And they do all this without actually being nuts. Congratulations, peanuts! You win this day and all future days.
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