Cashew
Overview
 
The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae
Anacardiaceae
Anacardiaceae are a family of flowering plants bearing fruits that are drupes and in some cases producing urushiol, an irritant. Anacardiaceae include numerous genera with several of economic importance. Notable plants in this family include cashew , mango, poison ivy, sumac, smoke tree, and marula...

. Its English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 name derives from the Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi
Tupian languages
The Tupi or Tupian language family comprises some 70 languages spoken in South America, of which the best known are Tupi proper and Guarani.-History, members and classification:...

 name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climate
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

s for its cashew nuts and cashew apples.
The name Anacardium refers to the shape of the fruit, which looks like an inverted heart (ana means "upwards" and -cardium means "heart").
Encyclopedia
The cashew is a tree in the family Anacardiaceae
Anacardiaceae
Anacardiaceae are a family of flowering plants bearing fruits that are drupes and in some cases producing urushiol, an irritant. Anacardiaceae include numerous genera with several of economic importance. Notable plants in this family include cashew , mango, poison ivy, sumac, smoke tree, and marula...

. Its English
English language
English is a West Germanic language that arose in the Anglo-Saxon kingdoms of England and spread into what was to become south-east Scotland under the influence of the Anglian medieval kingdom of Northumbria...

 name derives from the Portuguese
Portuguese language
Portuguese is a Romance language that arose in the medieval Kingdom of Galicia, nowadays Galicia and Northern Portugal. The southern part of the Kingdom of Galicia became independent as the County of Portugal in 1095...

 name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi
Tupian languages
The Tupi or Tupian language family comprises some 70 languages spoken in South America, of which the best known are Tupi proper and Guarani.-History, members and classification:...

 name, acajú. It is now widely grown in tropical climate
Tropical climate
A tropical climate is a climate of the tropics. In the Köppen climate classification it is a non-arid climate in which all twelve months have mean temperatures above...

s for its cashew nuts and cashew apples.

Etymology

The name Anacardium refers to the shape of the fruit, which looks like an inverted heart (ana means "upwards" and -cardium means "heart"). In the Tupian languages
Tupian languages
The Tupi or Tupian language family comprises some 70 languages spoken in South America, of which the best known are Tupi proper and Guarani.-History, members and classification:...

 acajú means "nut that produces itself"[1].

Habitat and growth

The tree is small and evergreen
Evergreen
In botany, an evergreen plant is a plant that has leaves in all seasons. This contrasts with deciduous plants, which completely lose their foliage during the winter or dry season.There are many different kinds of evergreen plants, both trees and shrubs...

, growing to 10-12m (~32 ft) tall, with a short, often irregularly shaped trunk. The leaves
Leaf
A leaf is an organ of a vascular plant, as defined in botanical terms, and in particular in plant morphology. Foliage is a mass noun that refers to leaves as a feature of plants....

 are spirally arranged, leathery textured, elliptic to obovate, 4 to 22 cm long and 2 to 15 cm broad, with a smooth margin. The flower
Flower
A flower, sometimes known as a bloom or blossom, is the reproductive structure found in flowering plants . The biological function of a flower is to effect reproduction, usually by providing a mechanism for the union of sperm with eggs...

s are produced in a panicle
Panicle
A panicle is a compound raceme, a loose, much-branched indeterminate inflorescence with pedicellate flowers attached along the secondary branches; in other words, a branched cluster of flowers in which the branches are racemes....

 or corymb up to 26 cm long, each flower small, pale green at first then turning reddish, with five slender, acute petal
Petal
Petals are modified leaves that surround the reproductive parts of flowers. They often are brightly colored or unusually shaped to attract pollinators. Together, all of the petals of a flower are called a corolla. Petals are usually accompanied by another set of special leaves called sepals lying...

s 7 to 15 mm long. The largest cashew tree in the world
Maior cajueiro do mundo
Maior cajueiro do mundo or Cajueiro de Pirangi is a cashew tree in Pirangi do Norte, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil. In 1994, the tree entered the Guinness Book of Records. It covers an area of about 7,300 or almost 8,400 square metres...

 covers an area of about 7500 square metre.

The fruit
Fruit
In broad terms, a fruit is a structure of a plant that contains its seeds.The term has different meanings dependent on context. In non-technical usage, such as food preparation, fruit normally means the fleshy seed-associated structures of certain plants that are sweet and edible in the raw state,...

 of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit
Accessory fruit
An accessory fruit is a fruit in which some of the flesh is derived not from the ovary but from some adjacent tissue exterior to the carpel. Examples of accessory tissue are the receptacle of strawberries, figs, or mulberries, and the calyx of Gaultheria procumbens or Syzygium jambos...

 (sometimes called a pseudocarp or false fruit). What appears to be the fruit is an oval or pear-shaped structure that develops from the pedicel
Pedicel (botany)
A pedicel is a stem that attaches single flowers to the main stem of the inflorescence. It is the branches or stalks that hold each flower in an inflorescence that contains more than one flower....

 and 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. In Latin America, a fruit drink is made from the cashew apple pulp which has a very refreshing taste and tropical flavor that can be described as having notes of mango, raw green pepper, and just a little hint of grapefruit-like citrus.

The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe
Drupe
In botany, a drupe is a fruit in which an outer fleshy part surrounds a shell of hardened endocarp with a seed inside. These fruits develop from a single carpel, and mostly from flowers with superior ovaries...

 that grows at the end of the cashew apple. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands into the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a single seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

, the cashew nut. Although a nut
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

 in the culinary sense, in the botanical
Botany
Botany, plant science, or plant biology is a branch of biology that involves the scientific study of plant life. Traditionally, botany also included the study of fungi, algae and viruses...

 sense the nut of the cashew is a seed
Seed
A seed is a small embryonic plant enclosed in a covering called the seed coat, usually with some stored food. It is the product of the ripened ovule of gymnosperm and angiosperm plants which occurs after fertilization and some growth within the mother plant...

. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing an allergenic phenolic
Natural phenol
Natural phenols, bioavailable phenols, plant phenolics, low molecular weight phenols or phenoloids are a class of natural products. They are small molecules containing one or more phenolic group. These molecules are smaller in size than polyphenols, containing less than 12 phenolic groups...

 resin, anacardic acid
Anacardic acid
Anacardic acids are chemical compounds found in the shell of the cashew nut . As they are closely related to urushiol, they also cause an allergic skin rash on contact, known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. Anacardic acid is a yellow liquid. It is miscible partially in alcohol and ether,...

, a potent skin irritant
Irritation
Irritation or exacerbation, in biology and physiology, is a state of inflammation or painful reaction to allergy or cell-lining damage. A stimulus or agent which induces the state of irritation is an irritant...

 chemically related to the more well known allergenic oil urushiol
Urushiol
Urushiol is an oily organic allergen found in plants of the family Anacardiaceae, especially Toxicodendron spp. . It causes an allergic skin rash on contact, known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis...

 which is also a toxin
Toxin
A toxin is a poisonous substance produced within living cells or organisms; man-made substances created by artificial processes are thus excluded...

 found in the related poison ivy. Properly roasting cashews destroys the toxin, but it must be done outdoors as the smoke (not unlike that from burning poison ivy) contains urushiol droplets which can cause severe, sometimes life-threatening, reactions by irritating the lungs. People who are allergic to cashew urushiols may also react to mango
Mango
The mango is a fleshy stone fruit belonging to the genus Mangifera, consisting of numerous tropical fruiting trees in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The mango is native to India from where it spread all over the world. It is also the most cultivated fruit of the tropical world. While...

 or pistachio
Pistachio
The pistachio, Pistacia vera in the Anacardiaceae family, is a small tree originally from Persia , which now can also be found in regions of Syria, Lebanon, Turkey, Greece, Kyrgyzstan, Turkmenistan, India, Pakistan, Egypt, Sicily and possibly Afghanistan , as well as in the United States,...

 which are also in the Anacardiaceae family. Some people are allergic
Allergy
An Allergy is a hypersensitivity disorder of the immune system. Allergic reactions occur when a person's immune system reacts to normally harmless substances in the environment. A substance that causes a reaction is called an allergen. These reactions are acquired, predictable, and rapid...

 to cashew nuts, but cashews are a less frequent allergen
Allergen
An allergen is any substance that can cause an allergy. In technical terms, an allergen is a non-parasitic antigen capable of stimulating a type-I hypersensitivity reaction in atopic individuals....

 than nuts
Nut (fruit)
A nut is a hard-shelled fruit of some plants having an indehiscent seed. While a wide variety of dried seeds and fruits are called nuts in English, only a certain number of them are considered by biologists to be true nuts...

 or peanut
Peanut
The peanut, or groundnut , is a species in the legume or "bean" family , so it is not a nut. The peanut was probably first cultivated in the valleys of Peru. It is an annual herbaceous plant growing tall...

s.

Dispersal

While native to Northern South America
South America
South America is a continent situated in the Western Hemisphere, mostly in the Southern Hemisphere, with a relatively small portion in the Northern Hemisphere. The continent is also considered a subcontinent of the Americas. It is bordered on the west by the Pacific Ocean and on the north and east...

, the Portuguese took the cashew plant to Goa, India
India
India , officially the Republic of India , is a country in South Asia. It is the seventh-largest country by geographical area, the second-most populous country with over 1.2 billion people, and the most populous democracy in the world...

, between the years of 1560 and 1565. From there it spread throughout Southeast Asia and eventually Africa.

Medicine and industry


The cashew nutshell liquid (CNSL), a byproduct of processing cashew, is mostly composed of anacardic acid
Anacardic acid
Anacardic acids are chemical compounds found in the shell of the cashew nut . As they are closely related to urushiol, they also cause an allergic skin rash on contact, known as urushiol-induced contact dermatitis. Anacardic acid is a yellow liquid. It is miscible partially in alcohol and ether,...

s. These acids have been used effectively against tooth abscess
Tooth abscess
A tooth abscess or root abscess is pus enclosed in the tissues of the jaw bone at the apex of an infected tooth's root. Usually the abscess originates from a bacterial infection that has accumulated in the soft, often dead, pulp of the tooth. This can be caused by untreated tooth decay, cracked...

es due to their lethality to a wide range of Gram-positive bacteria. Many parts of the plant are used by the Patamona
Patamona
The Patamona are an Amerindian group, known archaeologically from pottery collections in the Yawong Valley and the upper Siparuni River in the Pakaraima Mountains of Guyana. The upper Siparuni was exploited until recently for suitable farm lands, hunting and fishing...

 of Guyana
Guyana
Guyana , officially the Co-operative Republic of Guyana, previously the colony of British Guiana, is a sovereign state on the northern coast of South America that is culturally part of the Anglophone Caribbean. Guyana was a former colony of the Dutch and of the British...

 medicinally. The bark
Bark
Bark is the outermost layers of stems and roots of woody plants. Plants with bark include trees, woody vines and shrubs. Bark refers to all the tissues outside of the vascular cambium and is a nontechnical term. It overlays the wood and consists of the inner bark and the outer bark. The inner...

 is scraped and soaked overnight or boiled as an antidiarrheal; it also yields a gum used in varnish. Seeds are ground into powders used for antivenom for snake
Snake
Snakes are elongate, legless, carnivorous reptiles of the suborder Serpentes that can be distinguished from legless lizards by their lack of eyelids and external ears. Like all squamates, snakes are ectothermic, amniote vertebrates covered in overlapping scales...

 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
Cardanol
Cardanol is a phenol obtained from anacardic acid, the main component of cashew nutshell liquid , a byproduct of cashew nut processing. Cardanol finds use in the chemical industry in resins, coatings, frictional materials, and surfactants used as pigment dispersants for water-based inks...

, which is used for resins, coatings, and frictional materials.

Culinary

The cashew nut is a popular snack
Snack
A snack is a small portion of food eaten between meals. The food might be snack food—items like potato chips or baby carrots—but could also simply be a smaller amount of any food item.-Snacks and health:...

, and its rich flavor means that it is often eaten on its own, lightly salted or sugared, or covered in chocolate
Chocolate
Chocolate is a raw or processed food produced from the seed of the tropical Theobroma cacao tree. Cacao has been cultivated for at least three millennia in Mexico, Central and South America. Its earliest documented use is around 1100 BC...

.

Cashew is very commonly used in Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine
Indian cuisine consists of thousands of regional cuisines which date back thousands of years. The dishes of India are characterised by the extensive use of various Indian spices, herbs, vegetables and fruit. Indian cuisine is also known for the widespread practice of vegetarianism in Indian society...

. The nut can be used whole for garnishing sweets or curries, or ground into a paste that forms a base of sauces for curries (eg.Korma), or some sweets. It is also used in powdered form in the preparation of several Indian sweets and desserts. In Goan cuisine
Goan cuisine
Goan cuisine consists of regional foods popular in Goa, located along India's west coast along the Arabian Sea. Seafood, coconut milk, rice and paste are main ingredients of Goan delicacies. The area is located in a tropical climate, and spices and flavors are intense. Use of Kokum is another...

 both roasted and raw kernels are used whole for making curries and sweets. The cashew apple is eaten raw or used in curries.

The cashew nut can also be harvested in its tender form, when the shell has not hardened and is green in color. The shell is soft and can be cut with a knife and the kernel extracted, but it is still corrosive at this stage, so gloves are required. The kernel can be soaked in turmeric
Turmeric
Turmeric is a rhizomatous herbaceous perennial plant of the ginger family, Zingiberaceae. It is native to tropical South Asia and needs temperatures between 20 °C and 30 °C and a considerable amount of annual rainfall to thrive...

 water to get rid of the corrosive material before use. This is mostly found in Kerala cuisine, typically in avial
Avial
Avial is an Indian alternative rock band from Trivandrum, Kerala, India. The band is named after the popular South Indian dish Avial. The band consists of Tony John , Rex Vijayan , Mithun Puthanveetil , and Binny Isaac . The band's music is a fusion of native folk music from Kerala and Alternative...

, a dish that contains several vegetables, grated coconut, turmeric and green chilies.

Cashew nuts also appear in Thai cuisine and Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine
Chinese cuisine is any of several styles originating in the regions of China, some of which have become highly popular in other parts of the world – from Asia to the Americas, Australia, Western Europe and Southern Africa...

, generally in whole form.

In Malaysia, the young leaves are eaten raw in a salad or with Sambal belacan (shrimp paste
Shrimp paste
Shrimp paste or shrimp sauce, is a common ingredient used in Southeast Asian and Southern Chinese cuisine. It is known as terasi in Indonesian, ngapi in Burmese, kapi in Thai, Khmer and Lao language, belacan in Malay, mắm ruốc, mắm tép and mắm tôm in...

 with chili and lime).

In Brazil, the cashew fruit juice is popular all across the country.

In Panama, the cashew fruit is cooked with water and sugar for a prolonged period of time to make a sweet, brown, paste-like dessert called "dulce de marañón". Marañón is one of the Spanish names for cashew.

In the Philippines, cashew is a known product of Antipolo
Antipolo
Antipolo is a city in the Philippines located in the province of Rizal; about 25 kilometers east of Manila. It is the largest city in the Calabarzon Region in terms of population...

, and is eaten with suman
Suman (food)
Suman is a rice cake originating from the Philippines. It is made from glutinous rice cooked in coconut milk, and often steamed in banana leaves. It is served wrapped in buli or buri palm leaves and usually eaten sprinkled with sugar...

. Pampanga
Pampanga
Pampanga is a province of the Philippines located in the Central Luzon region. Its capital is the City of San Fernando, Pampanga. Pampanga is bordered by the provinces of Bataan and Zambales to the west, Tarlac and Nueva Ecija to the north, and Bulacan to the southeast...

 also has a sweet dessert called turrones de casuy which is cashew marzipan
Marzipan
Marzipan is a confection consisting primarily of sugar and almond meal. Persipan is a similar, yet less expensive product, in which the almonds are replaced by apricot or peach kernels...

 wrapped in white wafer.

In Indonesia
Indonesia
Indonesia , officially the Republic of Indonesia , is a country in Southeast Asia and Oceania. Indonesia is an archipelago comprising approximately 13,000 islands. It has 33 provinces with over 238 million people, and is the world's fourth most populous country. Indonesia is a republic, with an...

, roasted and salted cashew nut is called mente, while the cashew apple is called jambu monyet (literally means monkey rose apple).

Alcohol

In Goa
Goa
Goa , a former Portuguese colony, is India's smallest state by area and the fourth smallest by population. Located in South West India in the region known as the Konkan, it is bounded by the state of Maharashtra to the north, and by Karnataka to the east and south, while the Arabian Sea forms its...

, India, the cashew apple (the accessory fruit) is mashed, the juice is extracted and kept for fermentation for 2–3 days. Fermented juice then undergoes a double distillation process. The resulting beverage is called feni
Fenny
Fenny or Feni is a Goan Spirit made from either coconut or the juice of the cashew apple. The popular brands of fenny are 'Cashyo' , 'Reals' , and 'Big Boss'...

. In the southern region of Mtwara, Tanzania, the cashew apple (bibo in Swahili
Swahili language
Swahili or Kiswahili is a Bantu language spoken by various ethnic groups that inhabit several large stretches of the Mozambique Channel coastline from northern Kenya to northern Mozambique, including the Comoro Islands. It is also spoken by ethnic minority groups in Somalia...

) is dried and saved. Later it is reconstituted with water and fermented, then distilled to make a strong liquor often referred to by the generic name, gongo.

In Mozambique, it is very common among the cashew farmers to make a strong liquor from the cashew apple which is called "agua ardente" (burning water).

According to An Account of the Island of Ceylon written by Robert Percival an alcohol had been distilled in the early twentieth century from the juice of the fruit, and had been manufactured in the West Indies. Apparently the Dutch considered it superior to brandy as a "liqueur."

Nutrition

The fats and oils
Fat
Fats consist of a wide group of compounds that are generally soluble in organic solvents and generally insoluble in water. Chemically, fats are triglycerides, triesters of glycerol and any of several fatty acids. Fats may be either solid or liquid at room temperature, depending on their structure...

 in cashew nuts are 54% monounsaturated fat
Monounsaturated fat
In biochemistry and nutrition, monounsaturated fats or MUFA are fatty acids that have one double bond in the fatty acid chain and all of the remainder of the carbon atoms in the chain are single-bonded...

 (18:1), 18% polyunsaturated fat
Polyunsaturated fat
In nutrition, polyunsaturated fat, or polyunsaturated fatty acid, are fatty acids in which more than one carbon–carbon double bond exists within the representative molecule. That is, the molecule has two or more points on its structure capable of supporting hydrogen atoms not currently part of the...

 (18:2), and 16% saturated fat
Saturated fat
Saturated fat is fat that consists of triglycerides containing only saturated fatty acids. Saturated fatty acids have no double bonds between the individual carbon atoms of the fatty acid chain. That is, the chain of carbon atoms is fully "saturated" with hydrogen atoms...

 (9% palmitic acid
Palmitic acid
Palmitic acid, or hexadecanoic acid in IUPAC nomenclature, is one of the most common saturated fatty acids found in animals and plants. Its molecular formula is CH314CO2H. As its name indicates, it is a major component of the oil from palm trees . Palmitate is a term for the salts and esters of...

 (16:0) and 7% stearic acid
Stearic acid
Stearic acid is the saturated fatty acid with an 18 carbon chain and has the IUPAC name octadecanoic acid. It is a waxy solid, and its chemical formula is CH316CO2H. Its name comes from the Greek word στέαρ "stéatos", which means tallow. The salts and esters of stearic acid are called stearates...

 (18:0)).

See also

  • Wild Cashew
    Wild Cashew
    The Wild Cashew or Espavé is a tree in the flowering plant family Anacardiaceae. The tree is common in the Pacific and Atlantic watersheds of Central and South America, found as far north as Guatemala and extending south into Ecuador.The Wild Cashew is a closely related species within the same...

     - the species Anacardium excelsum.
  • Semecarpus anacardium
    Semecarpus anacardium
    Semecarpus anacardium is a native of India, found in the outer Himalayas to Coromandel Coast. It is closely related to the cashew.-Etymology:...

    , (the Oriental Anacardium) is a native of India and is closely related to the cashew.
  • List of culinary nuts
  • Cajuina
    Cajuína
    Cajuína is a non-alcoholic, non-carbonated beverage made of blended cashew apples.It is traditional in the northeast region of Brazil, especially in the states of Ceará and Piauí.-External links:...


Further reading

  • Morton, Julia F.
    Julia Morton
    Julia Francis McHugh Morton was an American author and botanist. She was research professor of biology, and director of the Morton Collectanea at the University of Miami. She was elected a Fellow of the Linnean Society of London in 1974...

     Fruits of Warm Temperatures. ISBN 978-0961018412 http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/index.html. Cashew Apple. p. 239–240.http://www.hort.purdue.edu/newcrop/morton/cashew_apple.html
  • Pillai, Rajmohan
    Rajmohan Pillai
    Dr. J. Rajmohan Pillai is an Indian businessman, currently the Chairman of Beta Group.-Early life:Rajmohan Pillai was born in Kollam, Kerala, South India, and educated in the state capital Trivandrum.-Beta Group:...

    and Santha, P. The World Cashew Industry (Rajan Pillai Foundation, Kollam, 2008).nm,.

External links

The source of this article is wikipedia, the free encyclopedia.  The text of this article is licensed under the GFDL.
 
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