THE CURIOUS CASHEW
Posted by Zel Allen's nutgourmet on February 5, 2009
Compared to other nuts, the growing habit of cashews is–well, strange, bizarre, and curious.
Every tree nut has something special about the way it grows and what portions of the tree are useful for other purposes. Cashews are not the exception and are most unique. Not only does the cashew tree produce delicious cashew nuts, it also offers resources useful for edible and commercial purposes.
The cashew tree is a peculiar plant with multiple uses, yet we’re 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 fruit, extremely rich in vitamin C, is eaten raw, as well as made into jam, marmalade, candy, and juices.
The photos in this post show the exotic cashew apple with the cashew nut in its shell growing at the base of the fruit.
In addition to being an excellent food source, the cashew yields 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 nutshell contains 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 utilized for waterproofing and as an adhesive. Natives in South America applied cashew nutshell 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.