Definitions

cashew tree

Cashew

[kash-oo, kuh-shoo]
The cashew (Anacardium occidentale; syn. Anacardium curatellifolium A.St.-Hil.) is a tree in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The plant is native to northeastern Brazil. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew "nuts" (see below) and cashew apples.

It is a small evergreen tree growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly-shaped trunk. The leaves are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flowers are produced in a panicle or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petals 7 to 15 mm long.

What appears to be the fruit of the cashew tree is an oval or pear-shaped accessory fruit or false fruit that develops from the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as "marañón", it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste. The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport. It is often used as a flavor in agua fresca.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the pseudofruit. Actually, the drupe develops first on the tree, and then the peduncle expands into the pseudofruit. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a dermatogenic phenolic resin, urushiol, a potent skin irritant toxin also found in the related poison ivy. Some people are allergic to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen than nuts or peanuts.

Other names include: cajueiro, cashu, casho, acajuiba, caju, acajou, acaju, acajaiba, alcayoiba, anacarde, anacardier, anacardo, Andi parippu (in Malayalam), cacajuil, cajou, gajus, godambi (in Kannada), jeedi pappu (in Telugu), jocote maranon, maranon, merey, Mundhiri paruppu (Tamil), noix d’acajou, pomme cajou, pomme, jambu, jambu golok, jambu mete, jambu monyet, jambu terong, kasoy (Tagalog), and hạt điều in Vietnamese language. In the Antilles in Puerto Rico, it is known as pajuil, Indian nut in Slovenia, and in the Dominican Republic as the cajuil. The pseudofruit is the main part used as raw fruit.

Cashew industry

Originally spread from Brazil by the Portuguese, the cashew tree is now cultivated in all regions with a sufficiently warm and humid climate. It is produced in around 32 countries of the world. The world production figures of cashew crop, published by the UN's Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO), was around 3.1 million tons per annum. The major raw cashew producing countries with their production figures in 2006 (as per the FAO) are Vietnam (941,600 tons), Nigeria (636,000 tons), India called Kaju (573,000 tons), Brazil (236,140 tons) and Indonesia (122,000 tons).

World’s total area under the cultivation of cashew is around 33,900 km². India ranks first in area utilized for cashew production, though its yields are relatively low. The world’s average yield is 817 pounds per acre (916 kg/hectare) of land

Collectively, Vietnam, Nigeria, India and Brazil account for more than 90% of all cashew kernel exports.

Top Ten Cashew Producers — 2005
Country Production (Int $1000) Footnote Production (t) Footnote
543,364 C 827,000 F
302,234 C 460,000 F
165,091 C 251,268
139,947 C 213,000 F
80,158 C 122,000 F
65,703 C 100,000 F
59,133 C 90,000 F
53,219 C 81,000 F
38,108 C 58,000 F
26,281 C 40,000 F
No symbol = official figure,F = FAO estimate, * = Unofficial figure, C = Calculated figure;
Production in Int $1000 have been calculated based on 1999-2001 international prices
Source: Food And Agricultural Organization of United Nations: Economic And Social Department: The Statistical Division

Uses

Medicine and industry

Cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), a by-product of processing cashew, is mostly composed of anacardic acids. These acids have been used effectively in vivo against tooth abcesses due to their lethality to gram-positive bacteria. They are also active against a wide range of other gram-positive bacteria. Many parts of the plant are used by the Patamona of Guyana medicinally. The bark is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal. Seeds are ground up into powders used for antivenom for snake bites. The nut oil is used topically as an antifungal and for healing cracked heels.

Anacardic acid is also used in the chemical industry for the production of cardanol, which is used for resins, coatings, and frictional materials.

Culinary

The cashew is a popular snack, and its rich flavor means that it is often eaten on its own, lightly salted. Cashews are sold covered in chocolate, but due to their higher price compared to peanuts and almonds are not as common in candy, except from higher quality manufacturers. Cashews also factor in Thai cuisine generally in whole form, and in Indian cuisine often ground into sauces such as shahi korma. The cashew can also be used in cheese alternatives for vegans, typically in homemade cheese recipes.

In Brazil, the cashew fruit juice is popular all across the country and is usually consumed with sugar.

Common name

See also

Gallery

Cashew Fruit- Stages of Development

References

  • Morton, Julia F. Fruits of Warm Climates. ISBN-13: 978-0961018412

External links

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