Who doesn't love to munch on a handful of roasted, salted cashews!! So tender, oily and extremely good tasting. But have you ever wondered or seen how they grow. Walking along the road today coming home from lunch we came across a cashew tree with cashews in various stages of development.
The true fruit of the cashew tree is the cashew nut which in the botanical sense is a seed. It grows from the accessory fruit commonly called a "cashew apple" which develops from the receptacle of the flower. In Central America the "apple" is called "maranon" and ripens into a yellow and/or red fruit, 5-11 cm long. It is juicy and sweet but too fragile to be transported. It is used for many products like jams, chutneys, juices and even distilled into liquor.
The dark green nut shell contains urushiol-an oil that causes a painful rash similar to poison ivy and the seed must be removed before consumption. These painful rashes are common among process workers. Even "raw" cashews have been cooked just not roasted therefore keep their pale colour. Cashews have a very high oil content and have about 180 calories per ounce.
The cashew shell is useful containing a liquid that is processed to make two primary end products: solids that are pulverized and used as friction particle for brake linings, and an amber-colored liquid that helps to create a type of curing agent and resin modifiers.
Spread out from Brazil by the Portuguese the cashew tree is now cultivated in any sufficiently warm and humid climate. Main commercial production comes from Vietnam, Nigeria, India and Brazil.
Ripe Cashew Nut and Apple
Green Cashew Nut and Apple
Cashew Apples for sale in Grecia market
The cashew tree down the road