While cashew nuts do not top the list of nuts in terms of cost, they offer stiff competition to some of the more commonly known nuts in terms of taste and popularity. It’s not surprising too. Cashew nuts are delicately flavored, delicious, and very versatile. Continue reading this post about the origin of cashew nuts and their health benefits!
Origins of the Cashew Nut
Indigenous to the coastal areas of Brazil, the cashew tree was introduced to India, Africa, and other tropical countries around the world by Portuguese explorers sometime during the 16th century. Today, they are considered a delicacy in several countries around the world. The top commercial producers of cashew are Brazil, India, Tanzania, Mozambique, and Nigeria.
Besides the nut, the tree itself is a prized resource because of its versatile wood and the cashew apple, which is fermented and distilled to produce local brews. Cashew balm, which is a caustic resin found in the outer shell of the seed is used as an ingredient in the manufacture of insecticides and varnishes.
Interesting Facts About Cashew Nuts
A cashew nut is actually the seed of the cashew apple. Unlike other seeds that are usually found inside the fruit, these seeds grow externally at the bottom of the fruit and are attached to the fruit at just one point. They are harvested by simply twisting them off the fruit. At this point, the nut is encased in a hard, fibrous outer covering. This covering contains a caustic resin called cashew balm. This cashew balm has to be taken off carefully before the nuts can be consumed.
Cashew Nuts In Your Kitchen
We said cashew nuts were versatile so let’s count the many ways they can be used and served:
- The salted, spiced, or sweetened varieties can be eaten as a snack on their own
- Can be crushed and used as a garnish on desserts, cookies, cakes, and sundaes
- Add a robust flavor when used in Arabic dishes including biryani and curries
- Crushed nuts blended with maple syrup make a scrumptious and healthy topping for pancakes
- Can be sautéed with vegetables or added to rice for a quick meal on the run
What Do You Know… They’re Tasty And Healthy Too!
Delicious, crunchy, and mildly sweet, cashew nuts are packed full of antioxidants, vitamins, minerals, and energy that are so essential for overall good health. They are also a very good source of monounsaturated fats, copper, phosphorus, magnesium, and manganese.
Tasty and healthy, these nuts definitely put paid to that theory that anything that tastes good is not good for health!
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