Delicately sweet yet crunchy and delicious cashew nut is packed with energy, antioxidants, minerals and vitamins that are essential for robust health! Cashew, or “caju” in Portuguese, is one of the popular ingredients in sweet as well savory dishes worldwide.
Botanically, cashew is an average size tropical evergreen tree belonging within the Anacardiaceae family of the genus: Anacardium. Scientific name: Anacardium occidentale.
The cashew tree is native to Brazil’s Amazon rain forest, which spread all over the world by Portuguese explorers. Today, it is cultivated commercially in Brazil, Vietnam, and India and in many African countries.
Cashew tree bears numerous, edible, pear shaped false fruits or “accessory fruits'” called "cashew apples." A small bean shaped, grey color “true-fruit” is firmly adhering to lower end of these cashew-apples appearing like a clapper in the bell. Botanically, this “true fruit” is a drupe, featuring hard outer shell enclosing a single edible seed or the “cashew nut.” The exterior shell composes a phenolic resin, urushiol, which is a potent caustic skin irritant toxin. In the processing units, this outer shell is roasted in order to destroy the urushiol resin, and then; the edible cashew kernel is extracted.
Cashew nut measures about an inch in length and 1/2 inches in diameter with kidney or bean shape, and smooth curvy pointed tip. Each nut has two equal halves as in legumes. The nuts are cream white color with the firm yet delicate texture and smooth surface. Cashews have buttery texture with a pleasant sweet fruity aroma.