Information about Nuts: Cashew Nut

About cashew nuts, information about the nuts, production, history and uses, origins of the name.

Cashew Nut

It got its name Anacardium because of its heartlike shape. The actual nut is attached to the lower end of the fruit (the cashew apple). Locally, this fruit is used in beverages, jams, and jellies. After the fruit is picked (by hand), the nut is detached and sun-dried. Before the nut can be eaten, there are 2 shells and a skin that must be removed. The outer shell contains a poisonous oil that can blister the skin; it was once believed that uncooked cashew nuts were also poisonous. However, the shell oil does not in any way contaminate the raw nut. To remove this shell, and to get rid of this oil, the nuts are either placed among burning logs until the oil catches fire (the fumes of which are injurious to the eyes and skin) or put in modern roasting cylinders. Later, the inner shells are cracked open, also by hand, and the kernels heated to remove the skins. The cashew tree grows in Central and South America, the West Indies, East Africa, and India (from which the U.S. imports 64% of its supply). A delicious and nutritious drink can be made by blending 1 cup cashews, 1 quart water, 1 tbs. soy oil, 2 tbs. raw honey, and 1/4 tsp. salt.

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