Cashews, an interesting nut

Cashews, an interesting nut

I love cashews! They’re great to cook with or just to sit and indulge in. They have a unique flavour and texture; kinda creamy. But one definitely needs a drink to go with them because they sure leave you mouth dry! They’re becoming more popular now than just being in a nut mix or covered in chocolate. Now we see cashew milk, cashew butter, and even ice cream. They are extremely healthy and contain so many nutrients. In many countries they are a culinary must, while others use them as a luxurious treat.

But I knew nothing about the actual nut until I went to Belize. Clearly they don’t just come out of a tin…..Where we lived in Placencia there are quite a few trees, and they are very big. And there are many vendors throughout Belize who walk around selling little bags of cashews, but they are very expensive! So it got my wondering…. why are they so expensive?

Cashews are grown and processed in many countries but the tree originates from Brazil. Large industrialized countries have the machinery to process them safely, whereas in tiny Belize, processing them is still done the old-fashioned way. Not only is the interior shell of the nut toxic (like being exposed to poison ivy) but when roasting them the oil smokes when its being burnt off and it too is toxic. So needless to say, for the small farmer, it’s a laborious, dirty, toxic job that makes them expensive. Still delicious though!

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Green unripe cashew apples with cashew nuts growing from the bottom
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Yellow cashew apple is edible, with sweet juice and waxy exterior

 

What’s quite unique about the cashew fruit (apple) is from the small pinkish flower the nut grows first and is bright green. Then the apple grows and ripens.

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Ripe cashew apple ready to be eaten.

You either like the fruit or hate it. It has a waxy outside and the inside fruit unexpectedly saps all the moisture out of your mouth despite being sweet and juicy. Because its small and soft you can chew the fruit, not take a crunchy bite out of it like the apples we’re familiar with. I don’t think I’d crave them but I do enjoy the cashew apple and more so the roasted nut!

Authur Ordinary Day With Milena

 



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