CASHEW NUT HISTORY AND INFORMATION


CASHEW NUT FRUIT of the tropical tree Anacardium occidentale, generally eaten roasted and salted. The nut hangs from the true fruit, a large fleshy but sour apple-like fruit, which is very rich in vitamin C. A 30-g portion of roasted salted nuts (30 nuts) is a source of protein, niacin, iron, and zinc; contains 15?g of fat, of which 20% is saturated and 60% mono-unsaturated; provides 180?kcal (755?kJ).
© A Dictionary of Food and Nutrition 2005, originally published by Oxford University Press 2005.

The cashew tree is a curious plant with multiple uses, yet we are only familiar with one of its fruits, the cashew nut. The cashew tree also produces an edible, pear-shaped fruit called the cashew apple. The cashew apple, extremely rich in vitamin C, is eaten raw, as well as made into jam, marmalade, candy, and juices. In Brazil, one of the areas where the cashew tree grows indigenously, cashew apple juice has become one of the most popular beverages. The juice can also be fermented to make an alcoholic beverage. Because the cashew apple spoils quickly, it cannot be exported; we can only enjoy it on a visit to Brazil.
The cashew tree is native to South America where it flourishes in Brazil and Peru. In the sixteenth century, Portuguese traders introduced the tree to India where it has more recently become an important export crop equal to that of Brazil. Other countries that grow and export cashews include Sri Lanka, China, Malaysia, the Philippines, Thailand, Colombia, Guatemala, Venezuela, the West Indies, Nigeria, Mozambique, Tanzania, and Kenya. The United States is the largest importer of cashew nuts.

In addition to being an excellent food source, the nut yields an oil used in flavoring and cooking foods. The tree produces a sap or gum sometimes used in bookbinding and often incorporated into a varnish used to protect woodwork from insect damage. The cashew nut shell produces an oil used in the manufacture of brake linings and is sometimes applied to metals as an anti-corrosive agent. The shell oil is also used for waterproofing and as an adhesive. Natives in South America used cashew nut shell oil in the treatment of scurvy, sores, warts, ringworm and psoriasis. The oil is found to have potent antibacterial properties. Not many plants can claim to provide so many benefits.

Many people avoid cashews because of their high fat content, though they are lower in total fat than almonds, peanuts, pecans, and walnuts. Cashew provide essential fatty acids, B vitamins, fiber, protein, carbohydrate potassium, iron, and zinc. Like other nuts, cashews are high in saturated fat; however, eaten in small quantities cashews are a highly nutritious food.

Cashews can be enjoyed raw or roasted. Sprinkle them into salads and grains, use them on top of breakfast cereals, and enjoy cashew butter on your favorite whole grain breads.

How important is it that the nuts I eat are raw? This is an important question to consider, as quite frankly, some raw fooders are excessively concerned with being "100% raw", i.e., with dietary purity and the quality of the food they eat. Note that nuts are a concentrated food, and the standard recommendation is to eat nuts in small or modest quantities.
The cashew (Anacardium occidentale; syn. Anacardium curatellifolium A.St.-Hil.) 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 now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew "nuts" (see below) and cashew apples.

It is a small evergreen tree growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly-shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long.
What appears to be the fruit of the cashew tree is an oval or pear-shaped accessory fruit or false fruit that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as "marañón", it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, and the skin is fragile, thus making it unsuitable for transport.
The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the pseudofruit. Actually, the drupe develops first on the tree, and then the peduncle expands into the pseudofruit. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a dermatogenic phenolic resin, urushiol, a potent skin irritant toxin also found in the related poison ivy. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than some nuts.
Other vernacular names include cajueiro, cashu, casho, acajuiba, caju, acajou, acaju, acajaiba, alcayoiba, anacarde, anacardier, anacardo, Andi parippu (in Malayalam), cacajuil, cajou, gajus, godambi (in Kannada), jeedi pappu (in Telugu), jocote maranon, maranon, merey, Mundhiri paruppu (Tamil), noix d’acajou, pomme cajou, pomme, jambu, jambu golok, jambu mete, jambu monyet, jambu terong, kasoy. In the Antilles, in Puerto Rico, it is known as pajuil and in the Dominican Republic as the cajuil. The pseudofruit is the main part used as raw fruit.


Cashew nut output in 2005
Originally spread from Brazil by the Portuguese, the cashew tree is now cultivated in all regions with a sufficiently warm and humid climate.
Cashew is produced in around 32 countries of the world. The world production figures of cashew crop, published by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was around 3.1 million tons per annum. The major raw cashew producing countries with their production figures in 2006 (as per the FAO) are Vietnam (941,600 tons), Nigeria (636,000 tons), India (573,000 tons), Brazil (236,140 tons) and Indonesia (122,000 tons).
World’s total area under the cultivation of cashew is around 33,900 km². India ranks first in area utilized for cashew production, though its yields are relatively low. The world’s average yield is 817 pounds per acre (916 kg/hectare) of land
Collectively, Vietnam, Nigeria, India and Brazil account for more than 90% of all cashew kernel exports. Some varieties of cashews come from Kollam or Quilon in Kerala, Southern India which alone produces 4,000 tons of cashews per annum. The major trading centers of cashew in India are Palasa, Kollam or Quilon Mangalore and Kochi.

The cashew apple is used for its juicy but acidic pulp, which can be eaten raw or used in the production of jam, chutney, or various beverages. Depending on local customs, its juice is also processed and distilled into liquor or consumed diluted and sugared as a refreshing drink, Cajuína. Ripe cashew apples also make good caipirinha. In Goa, India, the cashew apple is the source of juicy pulp used to prepare feni, a locally popular distilled liquor. In Nicaragua the cashew apple has many uses, it is often eaten or made into juice and also processed to create sweets and jellies. Other uses in Nicaragua include fermentation to produce wine and home-vinegar.[1] The cashew apple contains much tannin and is very perishable. For this reason, in many parts of the world, the false fruit is simply discarded after removal of the cashew nut.
The urushiol must be removed from the dark green nut shells before the seed inside is processed for consumption; this is done by shelling the nuts, a somewhat hazardous process, and exceedingly painful skin rashes (similar to poison-ivy rashes) among processing workers are common. In India urushiol is traditionally used to control tamed elephants by their mahouts (riders or keepers). The so-called "raw cashews" available in health food shops have been cooked but not roasted or browned.
Cashew nuts are a common ingredient in Asian cooking. They can also be ground into a spread called cashew butter similar to peanut butter. Cashews have a very high oil content, and they are used in some other nut butters to add extra oil. Cashews contain 180 calories per ounce (6 calories per gram), 70% of which are from fat.
The liquid contained within the shell casing of the cashew, known as Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL), has a variety of industrial uses which were first developed in the 1930s. CNSL is fractionated in a process similar to the distillation of petroleum, and has two primary end products: solids that are pulverized and used as friction particle for brake linings, and an amber-colored liquid that is aminated to create phenalkamine curing agents and resin modifiers. Phenalkamines are primarily used in epoxy coatings for the marine and flooring markets, as they have intense hydrophobic properties and are capable of remaining chemically active at low temperatures.
[edit] Medicine
Anacardic acids found in cashews have been used effectively in vivo against tooth abcesses due to their lethality to gram positive bacteria. They are also active against a wide range of other gram positive bacteria. Many parts of the plant are used by the Patamona of Guyana medicinally. The bark is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal. Seeds are ground up into powders used for antivenom for snake bites. The nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels.[2]

Cashew Nut
Botanical: Anacardium occidentale (LINN.)
Family: N.O. Anacardiaceae
---Synonym---Cassavium pomiferum.
---Part Used---Nut.
---Habitat---Jamaica, West Indies, and other parts of tropical America.
________________________________________
---Description---A medium-sized tree, beautiful, and not unlike in appearance the walnut tree, with oval blunt alternate leaves and scented rose-coloured panicles of bloom - the tree produces a fleshy receptacle, commonly called an apple, at the end of which the kidney-shaped nut is borne; the end of it which is attached to the apple, is much bigger than the other. The outer shell is ashy colour, very smooth, the kernel is covered with an inner shell, and between the two shells is found a thick inflammable caustic oil, which will raise blisters on the skin and be dangerously painful if the nuts are cracked with the teeth.
---Constituents---Two peculiar principles have been found: Anacardic Acid and a yellow oleaginous liquid Cardol.
---Medicinal Action and Uses---The oil must be used with great caution, but has been successfully applied to corns, warts, ringworms, cancerous ulcers and even elephantiasis, and has been used in beauty culture to remove the skin of the face in order to grow a new one. The nuts are eaten either fresh or roasted, and contain a milky juice which is used in puddings. The older nuts are roasted and salted and the dried and broken kernels are sometimes imported to mix with old Madeira as they greatly improve its flavour. In roasting great care must be taken not to let the fumes cover the face or hands etc., as they cause acute inflammation an external poisoning. Ground and mixed with cocoa the nuts make a good chocolate. The fruit is a reddy yellow and has a pleasant sub-acid stringent taste, the expressed juice of the fruit makes a good wine, and if distilled, a spirit much better than arrack or rum. The fruit itself is edible, and its juice has been found of service in uterine complaints and dropsy. It is a powerful diuretic. The black juice of the nut and the milky juice from the tree after incision are made into an indelible marking-ink- the stems of the flowers also give a milky juice which when dried is hard and black and is used as a varnish. A gum is also found in the plant having the same qualities as gumarabic; it is imported from South America under the name of Cadjii gum, and used by South American bookbinders, who wash their books with it to keep away moths and ants. The caustic oil found in the layers of the fruit is sometimes rubbed into the floors of houses in India to keep white ants away.
---Other Species---
The Oriental Anacardium or Cashew Nut (Semecarpus anacardium), a native of India, has similar qualities to the West Indian Cashew, and is said to contain an alkaloid called Chuchunine.
Ammonium anarcadate. This is the Ammonium compound of beta and delta resinous acids of A. occidentale (Cashew Nut), and is used as a hair-dye, but cannot be used with acids, acid salts, or acetate of lead.

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.

Cashews The cashew nut tree is a tropical tree in the plant family Anacardiacae. Other plants in the same family include the mango, the pistachio, and some less pleasant plants: poison ivy, poison oak, and poison sumac.

The raw cashew nut is enclosed in a tough, leathery shell that contains caustic, toxic substances including cardol and anacardic acid (similar to the active ingredients of poison ivy). Despite their caustic nature, these compounds have economic value and are used in industry. Together they are extracted in processing, as cashew nut shell liquid, referred to as CNSL.

Thus the challenge in cashew processing is to separate the edible nut from the toxic CNSL. Because of this, cashews require more extensive processing than other nuts. From the raw-fooder perspective, the important points in processing are as follows. 1) Pre-conditioning: the in-shell nuts are piled in heaps and kept wet with water for 1-2 days, -or- the in-shell nuts are steamed for 8-10 minutes. 2) Pre-treatment: the in-shell nuts are then immersed in a hot oil bath, kept at 170-200 deg C, for about 90 seconds. The oil bath removes some of the CNSL, and conditions the nut for shelling. Following the oil bath, the nuts may be placed in a heated centrifuge for further CNSL extraction. 3) Shelling: mechanical or manual (Indian factories use mostly manual labor) 4) Drying: the kernels are dried to a moisture content of 3%, in special chambers, at 70 degrees C, for about 6 hours. 5) Peeling - manual (as needed), or other process. One process calls for freezing the kernels, then peeling them automatically in a revolving drum.

Note that Orkos, the well-known supplier for instinctive eaters in France, sells shelled cashews that are apparently truly raw. Also, if you live in or visit certain tropical countries, you may be able to obtain raw, in-shell cashews (but then you face the difficult, potentially dangerous, problem of how to shell them, yourself).

Remarks: not sproutable; cashews ferment quickly if you try to sprout them. Recommendations: the "raw" cashew may be steamed, deep-fried, and partially baked. They are devitalized.

Citation for USADA Data: USDA National Nutrient Database for Standard Reference, Release 17; 2004.
USDA Food Composition Data: http://www.nal.usda.gov/fnic/foodcomp/Data/
*Percent Daily Values are based on a 2,000 calorie diet.


Nuts and seeds are rich in unsaturated fat and other nutrients that may reduce inflammation. Frequent nut consumption is associated with lower levels of inflammatory markers, and lower risk of cardiovascular disease and type 2 diabetes. In most cases, it is healthier to consume nuts in the raw state as opposed to roasted. Nuts have many nutritional benefits: they are high in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, fiber, vitamin, minerals, and phytonutrients. Most nuts contain many minerals, including magnesium. Population studies indicate that individuals who regularly consume nuts have reduced risk for cardiovascular disease and diabetes. In clinical trials, nuts appear to have a neutral effect on glucose and insulin, and a beneficial effect on lipid profile. Thus, nuts can be a healthy dietary component for individuals with diabetes or those at risk for diabetes, providing overall caloric intake is regulated to maintain a healthy body weight.

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