Botanically, cashew is an average sized tropical evergreen tree belonging to the Anacardiaceae family, of the genus: Anacardium. Scientific name: Anacardium occidentale.
Cashew tree bears many; edible, pear-shaped false fruits or “accessory fruits’” called “cashew apples.” Cashew nut which is a “true-fruit,” firmly attaching to the bottom end of cashew-apple, appearing like a clapper in the bell. Botanically, this tiny, bean shaped, gray “true fruit” is a drupe, featuring hard outer shell enclosing a single edible kernel known commercially as “cashew nut.”
Structurally, this Cashew “drupe” is made up of outer, hard shell and inner, edible kernel. Cashew shell composes of a toxic phenolic resin, urushiol; a potent caustic skin irritant toxin and therefore should be eliminated. In the processing units, the whole cashew is treated under the high flame to destroy urushiol resin. Thus roasted cashew becomes safe to handle with bare hands by workers, who then mechanically shell the nuts to extract underlying edible cashew kernel.
Cashew nut measures about an inch in length, 1/2 inches in diameter, and kidney or bean shape, with a smooth surface and smooth curvy pointed tip. Each nut splits into two halves as in legumes. The cream white kernel features firm yet crunchy texture and sweet, buttery flavor.
Cashew nuts can be available in the market year round. In the stores, only shelled cashew kernels sold since the shell contains phenolic resin, urushiol, which is a potent skin irritant toxin.
In the stores, one can find raw, salted, sweetened or candied cashews. Buy shelled nuts that feature bright cream-white, compact, uniform and feel heavy in hand. They should be free from cracks, mold, and spots and free of rancid smell.
At home, store cashew kernels inside an airtight container and keep in the refrigerator to avoid them turn rancid. Under ideal conditions, fresh nuts should last for 5-6 months.
Cashews have crunchy, buttery texture with a pleasant sweet fruity aroma.
Here are some serving tips:
Cashew nut is an exportable commodity and we have the capacity and are willing to export it to any country in the world.