Did you know that cashews come from a fruit?
July 18, 2014 6:18 AM   Subscribe

Cashews come from a fruit! The cashew fruit is very rarely seen in grocery stores because its skin is very delicate so it's hard to transport. Cashews, however, are ubiquitous and popular because of their tastiness and distinct shape. Here is someone eating a cashew fruit and pondering the cashew underneath. And here is how the cashew nut is processed by the Peace Corps Ghana Cashew Initiative. This fellow will tell you how to grow a cashew tree. Cashew fruits protect their precious nut well so be careful if you start from scratch.
posted by h00py (30 comments total) 18 users marked this as a favorite
There is a great legend that my grandmother told me about the cashew. The Devil had created a fruit to rival all of God's creations. Then, when God pointed out that his fruit had no seeds, the Devil stuck one on the outside: the cashew. It sounds better in spanish.
posted by maximum sensing at 6:28 AM on July 18, 2014 [5 favorites]

I didn't know, and I eat several handfuls of cashews a week because they are so delicious.
Thank you for this excellent post!
posted by Pudhoho at 6:35 AM on July 18, 2014

The cashew is my absolutely most favorite nut, yet I had no idea about the cashew fruit. Thanks!
posted by Thorzdad at 6:38 AM on July 18, 2014

I love cashews, and I always wondered why we use up so much fruit to get to the nuts. Other than deliciousness, of course.
posted by xingcat at 6:58 AM on July 18, 2014

There is a cashew tree in the scrub on a hill near my house so sometimes I climb up there to get the fruit. They call it a cherry tree here.
posted by snofoam at 7:12 AM on July 18, 2014

I knew this. But only because I played the sequel to Oregon Trail.
posted by showbiz_liz at 7:24 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

According to that article the astringent taste is due to the presence of urushiol, which is the allergen in poison ivy. This would certainly dissuade me.
posted by George_Spiggott at 7:33 AM on July 18, 2014

My mother has a cashew tree in her yard. I have a tenacious hope that the fruit will be delicious one day, but don't think I've ever actually enjoyed a cashew. As Trinidadians say, they does real tie up your mouth, which means they are astringent as fuck.
posted by two or three cars parked under the stars at 7:34 AM on July 18, 2014

I've had the fruit in mixed drinks (batida de caju, kind of like a caipirinha). The juice is also delicious! You might be able to find it in a Brazilian store if your city is lucky enough to have one...
posted by otherthings_ at 7:48 AM on July 18, 2014 [2 favorites]

I felt immediately guilty for scarfing down a bag of cashews when I realized the incredible amount of manual labor required to shell just one nut. And then I saw this. So now I don't care.
posted by hanoixan at 7:50 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

And cashew juice is very tasty.

(#1 reason to visit Brazil: The fruits, my heavens the fruits.)
posted by seyirci at 8:01 AM on July 18, 2014 [4 favorites]

I was just looking this up yesterday because l was trying to fathom the appeal of cashews. They're just so bland! Then I discovered that in addition to not liking the nut, I would probably be violently allergic to the fruit.
posted by zennie at 8:22 AM on July 18, 2014

I have always enjoyed cashews although not with the same ravenous glee as walnuts, but I recently discovered the existence of a ghastly abomination called cashew cheese and now I can never look at them the same way again.
posted by elizardbits at 8:49 AM on July 18, 2014

I don't actually like cashews, but while I was in...I think it was Goa?...about ten years ago, I found myself surrounded by cashew trees. The local liquor there was made from cashews, everything had cashews in it...it was sort of cool, even for a non-cashew-lover. So, genius that I am, I picked one and tried to get the nut out of the shell, squirting the astringent liquid inside it all over my face. I got a terrible rash, like mango-mouth but worse and longer-lasting. I continue to not like cashews (although I like to think that now I'm less of an idiot).
posted by libraritarian at 8:57 AM on July 18, 2014

Elizarbits they use cashew cheese to make "nacho" flavored raw kale chips which sounds nasty but ends up being surprisingly yummy, especially if you're new to the vegan diet and looking for "vegan Doritos" (don't judge me)
posted by Doleful Creature at 9:04 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

the astringent taste is due to the presence of urushiol, which is the allergen in poison ivy

I'd always heard the fruit was poisonous; thanks for the clarification.
posted by Rash at 9:27 AM on July 18, 2014

And then there's this http://www.traidcraft.co.uk/cashews and this http://www.theguardian.com

A friend told me of how the manual process damages workers hands horribly; I've been trying to buy Fairtrade since then, hoping that at least affords people gloves…

Nice tune in one of the videos though; anyone have recommendations for more by Dsp Kofi Sarpong?
posted by monocultured at 9:27 AM on July 18, 2014

I remember seeing the trees in Tanzania and thing how odd the whole thing looked. The nut looked like an afterthought.
posted by boilermonster at 9:38 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

In Belize I encountered cashew wine and loved it, somehow it had a dark colour and rich flavour akin to a sweet port. I wish transportable cashew products like this would make their way to more Northern, presumably cashew-inhospitable climes...
posted by kaspen at 9:52 AM on July 18, 2014 [1 favorite]

Feni, a distilled liquor made from cashew apples, is delicious.
posted by Runes at 10:00 AM on July 18, 2014

Yes, I did. In elementary school, we drew coconuts, durians, mangoes, mangosteens, lanzones, rambutans and cashews all the time. Yaye tropics.
posted by peripathetic at 10:11 AM on July 18, 2014

In Canada, you cannot import the fruit, and even so called raw cashews come from fruit that has been roasted open to collect the seed. Then they are sealed in big rectangular cans which is soldered close and stamped to prove they are "safe".

No fruit, and no truly raw cashews allowed to be imported. Many US states have similar laws.

Basically, a can of raw cashews untreated in this manner would be pretty dangerously poisonous.
posted by clvrmnky at 10:26 AM on July 18, 2014

I used to get a 6 oz. can of roasted and salted cashews in my stocking every Christmas, and I don't think they ever made it to mid-morning, but their taste is only a fading memory to me now thanks to my ever-worsening intolerance of any vegetable oil.
posted by jamjam at 12:10 PM on July 18, 2014

Nalo Hopkinson's book The New Moon's Arms have cashew trees and cashew fruit (apples?) as a plot point. That was the first time I'd ever heard of cashews as anything but a nut that had to be treated to be edible.

(The book is fun too, especially in audio.)
posted by Archer25 at 3:16 PM on July 18, 2014

I have always enjoyed cashews although not with the same ravenous glee as walnuts, but I recently discovered the existence of a ghastly abomination called cashew cheese and now I can never look at them the same way again.

Aw man I love cashew cheese. You have to culture it though for full effect, it goes through a sort of magical alchemy. There's a book called "Artisan Vegan Cheese" that has a number of good recipes, and I say this as somebody who really, really liked cheese, and really, really hates the vegan cheese you find in the store.

I'm also fond of this maple roasted vanilla almond cashew butter, but I usually omit the almond extract. And sometimes eat all the roasted cashews. Oops.
posted by Feyala at 7:05 PM on July 18, 2014

That is the coolest thing ever, smoke. Thanks!
posted by h00py at 5:05 AM on July 19, 2014

I haven't seen it personally, but I've heard...

( •_•)>⌐■-■

It's totally nuts.

I'm so sorry
posted by smoke at 5:52 AM on July 19, 2014

Cashews are delicious. I had no idea they come from fruit. This was a really interesting post.

It makes me wonder what led people to developing this technique. I would imagine that most people would avoid harvesting fruit that gives horrible poison-ivy like rashes.
posted by snickersnee at 8:40 AM on July 19, 2014 [1 favorite]

I visited a cashew farm in Thailand. Reasonably interesting, except it was an unannounced stop on a tour bus itinerary, you know the ones, where you sample the local craft and are expected to buy something.
My then 8yro daughter was allergic to nuts, and a trip to Thailand had been a challenge, but when she was deposited at a factory where everyone was pressing nuts and nut products on us to try, it was especially difficult.
I'm usually pretty accepting of this sort of thing in the developing world (note well, not Italian lace factories etc), but I really lost my shit that day.
Still interesting to see the farm though...
posted by bystander at 6:49 AM on July 22, 2014

« Older The cuteness. It burns.   |   The Forgotten Internment Newer »

This thread has been archived and is closed to new comments