A favorite snacking and party nut is recognized each year on November 23 during National Cashew Day.
The cashew nut is a seed harvested from the cashew tree. The tree originated in Northeastern Brazil. However, it is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew apples and nuts.
With leaves arranged spirally and a leathery texture, the evergreen cashew tree grows as tall as 32 feet high and often has an irregularly shaped trunk. The flowers are small, starting out pale green then turning reddish, with each one having five slender, acute petals.
The largest cashew tree in the world covers about 81,000 sq. ft. and is located in Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.
- The cashew tree has a fruit called the “cashew apple.” Its fragile skin makes it unsuitable for transport.
- Latin Americans make a fruit drink from the cashew apple.
- The Cashew causes fewer allergic reactions than other nuts or peanuts.
- Although native to northeast Brazil, the Portuguese took the cashew plant to Goa, India, between 1560 and 1565. From Goa, it spread throughout Southeast Asia and, eventually, Africa.
- We often see peanuts, pecans, walnuts, and other nuts sold in the shell. Due to the toxic nature of the cashew nut’s shell, this is not possible.
- Speaking of the shell, the Cashew is not a true nut. They do not develop a hard wall around the seed as hazelnuts or walnuts do. Cashews instead have a lining around the seed that is filled with a caustic fluid.
- This nut is an excellent source of antioxidants.
- It’s also a source of dietary trace minerals: copper, manganese, magnesium, and phosphorous.
- Cashew oil is a dark yellow oil for cooking or salad dressing pressed from cashew nuts.
- Many parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes.