A few years ago, Alastair planted several cashew trees in the camp. The cashew is another one of those wonderful foods that I enjoyed eating on a regular basis at home, but had no knowledge about its growth or cultivation…or its malevolent secret.
To be involved with a plant food and witness its evolution from seed to fruit is something spectacular, yet I often take it for granted.
I was really surprised to see what a cashew looks like on the tree.
The nut, or seed to be precise, hangs from the bottom of the cashew apple, a yellow fruit that has a sweet but distinctive taste.
The cashew nut has two shells. Inside the outer layer of the cashew nut, is a toxic liquid that can cause severe, even fatal, reactions to the skin and body, especially if ingested. Therefore, the nuts must be roasted in a fire to burn away the toxin, and thus eliminate the danger, before eating. Even cashews purchased in stores that are labeled “raw” are first processed at high heats and thus are not technically raw.
It is strange how something so delicious can be enrobed in something so harmful. Nevertheless, Alastair and I enjoyed eating our cashew apple fruit but removed the cashew nuts (or seeds) to keep only for planting…just to be safe :)