Have you ever seen a cashew fruit? If not, get ready to be shocked.
That small, curved nut known to us as the cashew comes from a much larger fruit known as the cashew fruit or cashew apple.
This oval-shaped fruit is about 5-11 cm in length and grows on evergreens that can reach fourteen meters in height. By comparison, the cashew is about 2 cm on average. To put things in perspective — each fruit only has one cashew seed, a.k.a. the cashews we all know and love. That is a lot of wasted fruit going into a jar of cashews!
Native to regions of Northeast Brazil, the cashew fruit is sweet and tropical and is enjoyed in countries in Africa, Asia, and South America. It is often pressed into a juice or fermented into alcohol.
Once it is harvested, it is sometimes sold same-day at food markets and can be used to make jams, syrups, and preserves. This is due to the fruit’s shorter shelf life – making its preserves and jam forms much more appealing for producers.
Cashew fruits are an excellent source of vitamin C and magnesium, which are crucial in promoting tissue and bone growth. It also contains moderate amounts of copper, potassium, and iron, along with fiber.
Luckily, there are some new uses for cashew fruit that are emerging on the market. Cajú Love, a plant-based meat alternative company, based in Hawaii, has been making a cashew meat substitute from the flesh of the cashew fruit.
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