English Name: Cashew
Botanical Name: Anacardium occidentale
DESCRIPTION: A tropical apple shaped fruit with a cream-yellow skin and a fleshy edible part with a nut beneath.
ORIGIN: The cashew tree is native to South America where it flourishes in Brazil and Peru. In the 16th century, Portugese traders inroduced the tree to India where it has more recently become an important export crop equal to that of Brazil. Other countries that grow and export cashews include: Sir Lanka, China, Malaysia,, Thailand, Columbia, Venezula, The West Indies, Nigeria, Tanzania, Mozambique and Kenya.
The United States is the largest importer of cashew nuts. Unlike most fruits where the seed is found inside the flesh, the cashew seed hangs from the bottom of the cashew apple.
The cashew apple fruit is not only edible but sweet, it is only available to those who grow the plant because it is too persihable to bring to the market.
NATURAL BENEFITS: Natives in South America used cashew nuts shell oil for the treatment of scurvy, sores, warts, ringworm and psoriasis. Cashew provides essential fatty acids, vitamin B, fiber, protein, carbohydrate, potassium, iron, and zinc and it is extremely rich in vitamin C.
USES: The cashew fruit can be enjoyed raw, the cashew nut can be sprinkled into salads. The fruit can be made into jam, marmalade, candy, juices and beverages. The oil from the cashew nut is used for cookings and skincare products.