The cashewnut originates from Brazil. In the 16th century, Portuguese sailors brought the cashew tree to Mosambique and India. Today, plantations can be found worldwide, mainly in tropical regions of South America, Africa and Asia. The evergreen plant is botanically related to the mango tree since it delivers two fruits at once: The colourful cashew apples, which is used by Brazilians for making juice and cooking jam, and the cashew nuts, hanging down like a keychain in its hard shell.Interesting facts, taste and appearance
The small cashewnut is the actual fruit of the cashew tree. The stone fruit has the shape of a kidney and has a hard shell with only one edible nut each. The almost white cashews are mild, fine and slightly sweet in taste. Their texture is much softer and creamy-buttery than that of real nuts. Having only 42 g fat/100 g, cashew nuts are one of the best low-fat nuts. It is high in protein and contains 270 mg magnesium per 100 g which makes it the perfect nutritious snack for vegetarians and vegans. Moreover, cashewnuts contain tryptophan, which results in serotonin in the brain: With 450 mg tryptophan per 100g, they are truely mood-lifters.
When opening the cashew fruit, the shell of the cashewnut releases a toxic substance, which is why the fruits have to be roasted before they are edible. This process eliminates the toxic substance and the cracked shell makes it easier to be opened. Due to the complicated procedure, cashewnuts are very expensive.
In retail, cashewnuts are sold only peeled. Depending on ones preference, it can be eaten salty, spicy or even caramelized. You can mix it in your cereal, trail mix or as a small snack for quick breaks on the go. Cashewnuts taste great in hearty or exotic dishes, salads and sauces. They are even suitable for baking.
Due to the relatively high calorie content, it is advised to restrain from eating large amounts of it.
Peeled and roasted cashewnuts are available year round.