Cashew nut


Cashew flowers

The cashew nut is a small evergreen tree which originates from Brazil. It is now planted in many tropical regions.

The fruit of the cashew tree is quite unusual. It looks like a small pear with the cashew nut hanging from the bottom of it. The nut can be eaten, and the so called ‘cashew apple’ can be used to produce juice.

Names

Scientific
   Anacardium occidentale
English
   Cashew
   Cashew apple
   Cashew nut
Dutch
   Cashew
   Cashewnoot
Spanish
   Anacardo
French
   Anacardier
   Noix de cajou
   Pomme de cajou
   Pommier-cajou
German
   Acajubaum
   Kaschu
   Kaschubaum
Italian
   Noce di anacardio

Taxonomy

Genus
   Anacardium
Family
   Anacardiaceae
Order
   Sapindales

Basic information and facts

Origin:

Cashew nut originates from Brazil.

Distribution:

Cashew nuts are produced in countries with a tropical climate, especially in Africa and South and Southeast Asia. Highest production of cashew nut is in Nigeria, India, Côte d’Ivoire, Vietnam, Indonesia, Philippines, Brazil, Guinea-Bissau, Tanzania and Benin.

Evergreen or Deciduous:

Cashew is an evergreen tree.

Fruits:

The ‘fruit’ of the cashew tree is actually not a real fruit. What appears to be the fruit is a pear-shaped structure that develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the cashew flower. This part is usually called the ‘cashew apple’. It is edible and has a juicy pulp, which can be eaten or can be used to make fruit drinks. The true cashew fruit is the kidney shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. Actually, this drupe develops first before the pedicel expands to become the cashew apple. Within the kidney shaped fruit is a single seed, which is the edible cashew nut. The shell is toxic and has to be removed.

Climate and weather:

Cashew nut grows in tropical climates.

Pollination:

Cashew is pollinated by insects.

Height:

Cashew nut is a small tree about 10 to 14 meters tall.

Spacing:

Dense planting at 7 x 7 meter or wider spacing at 10 x 10 meter.

Propagation:

Cashew can be grown from seeds but does not breed true to type. For propagating commercial cashew svarieties grafting is needed.

Harvesting:

Fruits are hand picked. Gloves are required to remove the seed because the shell contains corrosive liquid.

Uses:

Most cashew nuts are eaten roasted as a snack, sometimes with salt or sugar. Cashew nuts are also used in recipes for baking cakes and cookies, in soups and stews. They are also used in chocolates.
The cashew apple is eaten fresh or can be used cooked in curries. It is also used to produce juice or fermented to produce an alcoholic drink.

Crop categories

Fruits
Nuts
Tropical crops
Food crops

Pictures


Cashew flowers


Cashew fruit on tree


Cashew tree


Cashew nuts


Cashew - Photo by Ted Ollikkala


Cashew apple - Photo by Alex Popovkin


Cashew apple - Photo by Rich Young


Cashew nut or acajou by Berthe van Nooten Hoola
[CC BY 4.0], via Wikimedia Commons

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