Interesting details about the Cashew and its uses throughout the World.
We have received many questions about the cashew. Thus, we have complied some information to help better understand the Cashew:
The Cashew is comprised of the following:
- The Cashew Tree
- The Cashew Fruit or Cashew Apple
- The cashew nut (resides inside of the Cashew Fruit)
- Cashew Shell
- Cashew Shell Oil
The cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale) is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple. It can grow as high as 14 m (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 m (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.
The species is originally native to northeastern Brazil Portuguese colonists in Brazil began exporting cashew nuts as early as the 1550s. Major production of cashews occurs in Cote d’Ivoire (Ivory Coast), Vietnam, Nigeria, and India.
The cashew nut, often simply called a cashew, is widely consumed. It is eaten on its own, used in recipes, or processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter.
The shell of the cashew seed yields derivatives that can be used in many applications including lubricants, waterproofing, paints, and arms production, starting in World War II.
The cashew apple is a light reddish to yellow fruit, whose pulp can be processed into a sweet, astringent fruit drink or distilled into liquor.
The cashew apple, also called cashew fruit, is the fleshy part of the cashew fruit attached to the cashew nut. The top end of the cashew apple is attached to the stem that comes off the tree. The bottom end of the cashew apple attaches to the cashew nut, which is encased in a shell. In botanical terms, the cashew apple is an accessory fruit that grows on the cashew seed (which is the nut).
The cashew apple can be eaten fresh, cooked in curries, or fermented into vinegar, as well as an alcoholic drink. It is also used to make preserves, chutneys, and jams in some countries such as India and Brazil. In many countries, particularly in South America, the cashew apple is used to flavor drinks, both alcoholic and nonalcoholic.
Cashew nuts are more widely traded than cashew apples, because the apple, unlike the nut, is easily bruised and has very limited shelf life Cashew apple juice, however, may be used for manufacturing blended juices.
Culinary uses for cashew seeds in snacking and cooking are similar to those for all tree seeds called nuts.
Cashew nuts are commonly used in Indian cuisine, whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries (e.g., korma), or some sweets (e.g., kaju barfi). It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts.
In Goan cuisine, both roasted and raw kernels are used whole for making curries and sweets. Cashew nuts are also used in Thai and Chinese cuisines, generally in whole form.
In the Philippines, cashew is a known product of Antipolo, and is eaten with suman. Pampanga also has a sweet dessert called turrones de casuy, which is cashew marzipan wrapped in white wafers. In Indonesia, roasted and salted cashew nut is called kacang mete or kacang mede, while the cashew apple is called jambu monyet (translates in English to monkey rose apple).
In Mozambique, bolo polana is a cake prepared using powdered cashews and mashed potatoes as the main ingredients. This dessert is popular in South Africa.