Cashew Fruit

As Americans and as people living in America we tend to only pay attention to fruits of our native land. However it is important to realize that there are so many different fruit options out there that it will take over a life time to experience them. I have to say that this is what I love about the raw foods lifestyle, don’t you think that that’s cool ? These are just a few unique options that are out there.

You probably have eaten cashew nuts before, but might not have see the fruit from which this nut comes. It turns out, that cashew is one of the weirdest-looking fruits on the planet.

It’s a soft pinkish fruit with a nut growing inside a shell attached outside the fruit. As I understand, when it’s on the tree, it hangs with the nut at the bottom.

When not speaking of the nut, the cashew is often called a cashew fruit, but in actuality it is made up of three distinct parts. That orange yellow part that I first thought looked like a bell pepper is called the cashew apple. It is referred to as a false fruit or pseudo-fruit in the plant world.
The cashew apple contains a high concentration of tannins which are the same substances found in tea and wine. They give the apple a very distinct taste which I’ll discuss a little later.
The kidney-shaped green stem is the fruit of the cashew and it encases the nut; the same nut that we eat and refer to in the US as simply “cashews”, called castanha de cajú in Brazil.
The green fruit contains urushiol oil, the same substance found in poison ivy and poison oak which irritate the skin. You have to be very careful when removing the nut and it is for this reason that I have never purchased a whole, fresh cashew for myself and experimented with it. In an older article from Purdue University Horticulture I read that in some countries at one point the nut was simply thrown out with the fruit due to this toxin and much more emphasis was placed on the apple. Cashews are grown in other tropical places throughout the world such as Vietnam, Caribbean, South America and India. However, unless you live very close to one of those places it is likely you will never see a whole cashew. The fruit is juicy, fragile and spoils very quickly so extended transport is not an option.
Cashew juice which is made from the cashew apple. It is said to have a sweet flavor with a richness that resembles that of the nut. The tannins leave that familiar drying feel in the mouth which they are known for.
Cashew
Many claim to have noticed a difference in the juice when order it in a restaurant versus purchasing it prepackaged in the store. I should mention that you can buy bottled pulp without sugar in the supermarket and add your own water and sweetener if desired. The fresher juice is much more astringent than the packaged.
There are ways to remove tannins and I’m wondering if this has been done to the packaged juice to make it more appealing, as I came across some research from India where they were discussing processes to reduce tannins to get more people to drink the juice for its nutritional content.
 Juice from the cashew apple contains about 205 to 220 mg of vitamin C per 100 ml.  In the cashew fruit contains a variety of nutrition cashews that are beneficial to the body and nutrition cashews include such as proteins, carbohydrates, dietary fiber, sodium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, phosphorus, manganese, selenium, and zinc. Cashew fruit also contains riboflavin ,(vitaminB2) ascorbic acid (Vitamin C), and calcium and the active compounds known to prevent cancer, and pointed to cure the tumor.  During my research I found a few sources online in the UK for the cashew apple pulp to make juice.

Here’s some more information about the Cashew Fruit juice:

O.N.E.™ Cashew is a 100% natural, nutritional beverage with a fresh, light and naturally sweet tropical flavor. Made from the fruit of the cashew plant, not the nut, O.N.E. Cashew is naturally fat-free and is packed with Vitamin C. One cashew fruit has five times more Vitamin C than an orange, without the acidity. O.N.E.™ Cashew also contains important nutrients including beta-carotene, vitamin B1, B2 & B3, calcium & iron. And, unlike the cashew nut, O.N.E.™ Cashew is non-allergenic.

I read the container and it “calm an upset stomach” and   “soothe a sore throat is a few of the things that the juice is known to do.

CASHEW FRUIT SALSA
Ingredients:
2 jalapenos
2 cashew fruits (see notes)
chopped onions
chopped garlic
diced tomatoes
salt & pepper to taste

Instructions:

Dice up the jalapenos and use the seeds according to your tolerance for heat. Slice off the ends of the cashew fruit (they are bitter) and dice the remaining fruit. Add mixture to chopped onions, garlic, diced tomatoes, salt and pepper.

This mixture can also be used to create a nice sauce. Puree it in a blender or cuisinart, add sausage and serve over penne pasta.

Notes:

Cashew Fruit: Anacardium occidentale (cashew) is a tree in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The plant is native to northeastern Brazil, where it is called by its Portuguese name Caju (the fruit) or Cajueiro (the tree). It is widely grown in tropical climates for its nuts and cashew apples. What appears on the tree to be the “fruit” of the cashew tree is an oval to pear shaped pseudo fruit or false fruit that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called cashew apple, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about the size of a plum or pear.

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