National Cashew Day

dreamstime_xxl_25936714 food cashew nuts in spoon

Today is National Cashew Day and I do love to nosh on these delicious nuts.  As I started this post I idly wondered why I have never seen cashews in the shell, as I have seen every other kind of nut.  Boy did that send me down a rabbit hole.

Cashews are technically a seed of the cashew tree, a tropical plant, which produces a cashew apple and one seed below.  Like this:

dreamstime_xxl_48352472 food cashew apple and nut seed

The cashew apple can be eaten whole, cooked in curries or made into preserves and chutneys.  It has pulp that can be processed into a sweet astringent fruit juice or distilled into liquor.  The seed pod below it has the cashew nut surrounded by a shell, like this:

dreamstime_xxl_89636388 cashew nut in shell

The shell of the cashew contains compounds that can cause symptoms similar to poison ivy, which is likely why we don’t see encased cashews for sale to the public.  The shells themselves can be processed into compounds used for paints and lubricants.  Here is a rather medieval device to shell the nuts, though I am sure mechanized devices produce most of the harvest:

dreamstime_xxl_73378308 cashew nut shelled peeled

From there the nuts can be roasted or prepared for consumption.  I love them salted but you can include them in a number of dishes and cuisines or just take the easy way out and throw them in some fudge like this:

 

dreamstime_xxl_99200142 food dessert chocolate fudge with cashew

Sorry for the longer than usual post but I went nuts learning about the cashew.  Sorry for the cornball joke.  Sorry for the many apologies.  Enjoy a cashew.

As always you can find more at http://www.walterthinnes.com and on Twitter @walterthinnes

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