The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple also referred to as a accessory fruit.
An accessory fruit is a fruit in which some of the flesh is derived not from the floral ovary but from some adjacent tissue exterior to the carpel (the female reproductive part of the flower).
Other examples of accessory fruits include the pear, fig and strawberry.
Those who have eaten the cashew apple liken the taste to a blend of mangos, strawberries, cucumber, and bell peppers.
The fruit grows year-round in tropical climates and is native to Brazil.
Though in the 16th Century, Portuguese traders introduced the tree to Mozambique and coastal India, but only as a soil retainer to stop erosion on the coasts. It flourished and ran wild and formed extensive forests in these locations and on nearby islands.
The cashew is commonly considered a snack nut that is eaten on its own, processed into cashew cheese or cashew butter, and also used in recipes. Like this Orange Sauce Vegetable & Cashew Stir Fry with BBQ Sesame Ginger Chicken Thighs.
LOL – Now that’s funny. But it does present the question, “Is the cashew really a nut?”
Is The Cashew Considered A Nut
Cashews have always been marketed as nuts, sold alongside other nuts at the market and within “nut” mixes.
It may be difficult to think of them as anything else. Is the cashew a nut?
Technically, the cashew is a kernel or a seed, coming from the cashew fruit that grows on the evergreen cashew tree. They are botanically classified as a drupe seed.
Now, what is a drupe seed?
The Drupe Seed
Drupe seeds contain a fleshy outer layer that surrounds the stone or pit. A great example of the are fruits like apricots, avocados and peaches. The stone or pit has a seed or kernel inside that is edible.
Give This Mango Thai Noodle Salad With Sesame Ginger Dressing A Try – A Deliciously Yummy Asian Noodle Salad With Herbs And Cashews
So if cashews are a drupe seed, then why are they viewed as a nut? Great question.
The principal reason that cashews are viewed as nuts, is because they have nutritional similarities to true nuts like chestnuts and hazelnuts.
Cashews are rich in proteins and healthy fats and can be substituted for other nuts in granolas, trail mixes, nut butters, and nut milks.
It Also Can Be Used In Desserts – Like This Capirotada Mexican Bread Pudding
Culinary Food Fact
Many other “nuts” that are viewed as such, are actually drupes as well. Such as almonds, pecans, pistachios, and walnuts.
Therefore, any nut that is considered a drupe is actually a fruit. But this doesn’t include peanuts, as the are a legume and therefore a vegetable.
Are You A Big Asian Salad Eater – Then You’ll Enjoy This Asian Salad with Sesame Ginger Dressing With Roasted Cashews
According to Purdue University, cashew apple juice is prescribed as a remedy for a sore throat and chronic dysentery in both Cuba and Brazil.
Fresh or distilled, it is a potent diuretic and is said to possess sudorific properties. The brandy is applied as a liniment to relieve the pain of rheumatism and neuralgia.
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