In it’s appearance this nut is about one inch long with a smooth, curvy pointed tip. It is soft and white with a delicate creamy surface. When roasted, the nut turns golden brown in color having a buttery texture and a fruity aroma.
Cashew is a tropical evergreen tree belonging to the Anacaradiaceae family. Its scientific name is Anacardium occidentale.
The tree is native to Brazil’s Amazon rain forest and blossoms every year from November to January. Usually growing to a height of 12 meters, the tree can grow in a wide spectrum of climatic regions.
Cashew nut was first introduced by the Portuguese explorers in the 16th century for the purpose of soil conservation and afforestation. It has now emerged as a major cash crop and is cultivated widely in Brazil, Vietnam, India and other African countries. The cashew tree grows vigorously in the first three years of cultivation.
Each tree bears numerous edible pear shaped fruits know as the cashew apple. Botanically, this fruit is a drupe having a hard outer shell grey in color. The exterior shell of this fruit has a phenolic caustic skin irritant toxin. While processing, the outer shell is roasted in order to destroy the urushiol resin before it can be consumed.
Cashew is one of the extremely nutritious nuts. This delicate and sweet nut is packed with energy, fiber, antioxidants, minerals, vitamins and phytochemicals. It is rich in minerals like manganese, potassium, iron, copper, zinc, selenium and phosphorus. It also contains B complex vitamins like pantothenic acid, thiamine, pyridoxine, riboflavin and folate. Cashew apple contains five times more vitamin C than most of the citrus fruits. However, Cashew is a high calorie food and each 100 grams serving of cashew provides 553 calories.
Cashew nut oil:
The cold compression method is used to extract oil from Cashew shells. This oil is extremely beneficial for maintaining healthy skin. The high concentration of essential fatty oil helps in retaining moisture of the skin. A rich source of vitamin E cashew nut oil can help prevent the signs of aging like fine lines and wrinkles, if used regularly in body massages.
Health Benefits of Cashew:
Like many other nuts even Cashew nut has a wide list of health benefits. Here, we look at some of the common benefits.