Cashew is a small oval (or pear) shaped fruit, covered in a smooth waxy layer and can grow as big as 11 centimeters in length.
When it starts getting ripe, the color changes from green to red or golden yellow.
At the bottom of the fruit, there’s a bean shaped greyish seed known as the cashew nut.
Care has to be taken when handling it because the insides contain some chemicals that could cause rashes when they come in contact with the skin.
This article will touch more about the cashew nut as it progresses.
The Cashew Fruit really looks yummy, but can you actually eat it?
Absolutely, cashew fruit is perfectly safe to eat without risking any health effect, except when you’re allergic to certain compounds in it like vicilin and legumin which are known to trigger allergic reactions in people, or decide to consume the cashew nuts raw.
Cashew fruit is very aromatic, juicy, and sweet with the insides feeling fibrous and stringy when bitten.
Most people compare the taste to a blend of bell pepper, cucumber, mango, and strawberry.
Cashew fruit can be plucked and eaten immediately without any form of processing or cooking.
Read: How To Eat A Pear
A lot of people choose to bite the fruit, squeeze out every juice from it into their mouths, and then spit out the tough stringy/fibrous flesh.
It’s totally okay to swallow it though.
If this has already piqued your curiosity, go out and enjoy yourself, but there’s just one thing; stay away from deep green cashews as they’re unripe and can really do a number on your stomach due to their high acidity.
Okay, they’re delicious, but just how healthy are they?
If you were asked what fruit has the most vitamin C, chances are the first that’ll come to your mind would be orange. Right?
Well, it’ll shock you to know that Cashew fruits contain five times more vitamin C than oranges. Just in case you didn’t know, vitamin C helps us fight diseases and infections by strengthening the immune system.
It also helps your skin look fuller and feel softer, as well as repair broken tissues and heal wounds.
It’s so versatile that in the past, european civilization would consume it to fight fever and help with their stomach.
Cashew fruits were also often prescribed to treat dysentery and influenza.
Cashew fruits are very rich in protein which helps rejuvenate your skin and prevent you from aging really quickly. It also increases your metabolism, which helps burn fat.
Cashew fruits can help prevent cancer.
Cashew fruits contain a chemical compound known as proanthocyanins, which help to violently suppress the replication of cancer cells.
They also contain lots of copper, and copper reduces the tendency of cells to mutate and become cancerous. This is why it’s highly beneficial to prevent colon cancer.
Cashew fruits contain fats, but not the bad kind of fats
Cashew fruits are rich in fats, but the fats in question are not the common saturated fats that give you heart problems.
In fact, the irony is that cashew fruits are very good for your health as they help regulate cholesterol levels in the blood. This in turn maintains a stable blood pressure.
They help develop the brain
Cashew fruits produce fatty acids which are essential to brain development and also blood clotting.
Cashew fruits help prevent Anemia
Anemia is a shortage of red blood cells, which is characterized by weakness, shortage of breath, chest pains, cold hands and feet, as well as pale skin.
Fortunately, there’s a specific type of compound known as iron, which greatly helps replenish red blood cells, and guess what, cashew fruits are very rich in iron.
Iron also helps boost your immune system so it’s more of a win win situation.
Cashew fruit is good for your eyes
Cashew fruits contain a high level of zeaxanthin, and lutein which are excellent eye-foods.
They also lower your chances of getting cataracts, as well as reduce the long term damages caused by over exposure to UV rays from the sun.
They’re very good laxatives
In case you don’t know, laxatives help you pass stool easily. This means they’re an ideal remedy for dealing with constipation.
This is because cashew fruits are rich in fiber, and fiber helps you pass stool much easier by giving the large intestinal walls something to squeeze on, as well as adding weight to the stool by absorbing more water.
This makes it much easier to be passed out.
Are there any adverse effects of consuming cashew fruits? (Allergens)
Cashew fruits contain vicilin and legumin. These allergens are known to be present in cashew nuts as well.
People who show sensitivity to these compounds were know to have experienced various symptoms ranging from rashes to even severe cases of anaphylaxis.
Anaphylaxis is no joke, it’s worth confirming if you’re allergic before consumption.
What’s the best way to store your cashew fruits, and how long do they typically last?
Cashew fruits are highly perishable. So perishable that if you tried to store it at ambient or room temperature, you’d start seeing signs of spoilage before the end of the next day.
However, keeping them in temperatures ranging from 1⁰ to 5⁰C can really increase it’s freshness period, up to 24 days with only a 22 percent loss in weight.
What about the seed? What do I need to know about them?
Unfortunately, consuming the seed isn’t as straightforward as the fruit itself, unlike the case with melon seeds or guava seeds.
I said earlier you could pluck cashew fruit and eat it immediately.
This cannot be said for cashew nuts because they contain a chemical compound known as urushiol, and it’s a very dangerous toxin.
Urushiol is the same reason why some people can be allergic to mangoes when the consume the skins.
Urushiol is a substance found in all known members of the anarcardiaceae family. For context about how poisonous it is, urushiol can also be found in poison ivy and poison oak.
Coming in contact with urushiol gives you the same experience as with poison ivy, and for those who aren’t familiar with it, it’s characterized by intense itching, bumps, rashes, and swellings.
The intensity of the symptoms depend on your level of exposure, and whether you ingested or simply came in contact with it.
In other words, urushiol is bad news, and you should be very careful with how you deal with cashew nuts. Do not eat them raw.
So can I consume the seeds?
You can consume the seeds, and they’re actually quite tasty. Some who have consumed it described the taste as having a mild flavor with a rich and creamy taste, others say it tastes a little bit like peanuts and almonds.
Best of all, the concentration of fats in cashew nuts are typically lower than that of peanuts.
However, like I’ve been saying, it’s important to never think of consuming them raw. You could get them ready made at the supermarket, with the harmful toxins removed, or you could do it at home by yourself.
How do I remove the urushiol at home by myself?
First of all, it’s best to go to the supermarket because you may not be able to adequately process the nuts yourself. However, if you’re very sure of yourself, you may proceed with the next steps.
Once you’ve gathered the nuts, spread them out in the sun to dry
Once they’ve dried, roast them further at high temperature by steaming in a large rotating drum or vat of boiling oil. This is to ensure that every bit of urushiol has been removed before you shell, and peel them.
You could roast them again for added flavor, as well as to remove any more urushiol that may still be hanging around.
Frequently Asked Questions
Can cashew nuts help with diabetes?
As a matter of fact, yes, cashew nuts, due to their low level of sugar makes them beneficial to diabetic patients (specifically type 2 diabetes). They’re also rich in magnesium which helps regulate blood sugar.
Do cashew nuts contain cholesterol?
Cashew nuts contain an extremely low amount of cholesterol, almost unnoticeable to the body.
What other things can I make from cashew fruits?
You can actually ferment the juice into vinegar and alcohol. It’s also used to make jams and chutneys, as well as cooked in curries.
From the succulent and sweet fruit, to the creamy nuts, this special fruit is the gift that keeps on giving, as no part of it is wasted.
Invest your appetite in more of this super fruit and your heart, bones, muscles, brain, stomach, immune system, and liver will thank you for it.
And please, again, don’t eat nuts raw.