National Cashew Day :-
Today is National Cashew Day! A popular snacking and party nut is celebrated each year on November 23 on National Cashew Day.Whether you like them plain, salted, roasted, or coated in sugar, cashews are a delicious treat! Although cashews are popular in Thai, Indian, and Chinese cuisines, they are actually native to Brazil. They have also been widely cultivated in India and Africa ever since the Portuguese exported them during the 16th century.
The cashew tree is a tropical evergreen tree that produces the cashew seed and the cashew apple.
The cashew nut is a seed that is harvested from the cashew tree. Northeastern Brazil was the original native home to the cashew tree however, it is now widely grown in tropical climates for its cashew apples and nuts.
With leaves that are spirally arranged and leathery textured, the cashew tree is large and evergreen. It can grow as tall as 32 feet high having a short and often irregularly shaped trunk. The flowers are small, starting out pale green in color then turning reddish with each one having five slender, acute petals.
The largest cashew tree in the world covers about 81,000 sq. ft. and is located in
Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil.
The Cashew Tree can grow as high as 14 metres (46 ft), but the dwarf cashew, growing up to 6 metres (20 ft), has proved more profitable, with earlier maturity and higher yields.
About Cashew Tree :-
- The cashew tree has a fruit called the “cashew apple”. It’s fragile skin makes it unsuitable for transport.
- A fruit drink is made from the cashew apple in Latin America.
- The Cashew is a less frequent allergen than other nuts or peanuts.
- Although native to north-east Brazil, the Portuguese took the cashew plant to Goa, India, between 1560 and 1565. From Goa, it spread throughout South-east Asia and eventually Africa.
- The shell of the cashew nut is toxic. This is why cashews aren’t sold in the shell.
- Speaking of the ‘shell’, the Cashew is not a true nut. They do not develop a hard wall around the seed like a hazelnut or walnut does. Cashews instead have a lining around the seed that is filled with a caustic fluid.
- Cashews are a good source of antioxidants.
- Cashews are a source of dietary trace minerals: copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous.
- Cashew oil is a dark yellow oil for cooking or salad dressing pressed from cashew nuts.
- Many parts of the plant are used for medicinal purposes.
What Do Cashew Plants Look Like?
Cashew trees are attractive trees with large leaves and pretty, pink flowers.
Cashews, as you know them, are nuts. But the cashew nut is not the only fruit of the cashew trees. Or rather, the cashew nut is only a part of the cashew fruit.The other part is called the cashew apple.
The cashew apple looks very attractive with its red cheeks. It’s high in Vitamin C, refreshing, very juicy, but a bit acidic. And it leaves a furry feeling in your mouth.
Where Can You Grow Cashew Trees?
You can grow cashew trees anywhere in the wet/dry tropics. The main producers of cashew nuts are Brazil, India, Vietnam, Africa (Tanzania and Mozambique) and South East Asia.
As long as they have some water cashew trees grow like weeds. They are fairly draught resistant and grow well even on marginal soils where other fruit trees would fail. The best soils for growing cashews are sandy soils.
About the cashew Crop :-
Cashew is essentially a tropical crop, grows best in the warm, moist and typically tropical climate. The distribution of cashew is restricted to altitudes below 700 m where the temperature does not fall below 200C for prolonged periods, although it may be found growing at elevation up to 1200 m. It is best adopted to the coastal regions. The cashew is hardy and drought resistant, but it is damaged by frost.
Cashew is grown in areas with rainfall ranging from 600 – 4500 mm per annum. Fruit setting in cashew will be good if rains are not abundant during flowering and nuts mature in a dry period.
Cashew is a sun loving tree and does not tolerate excessive shade. It can tolerate temperature of morethan 360C for a shorter period but the most favourable temperature lies between 24 C to 28 C.
The climatic factors influence the cashew growth and production as follows:-
- Dry spell during flowering and fruit setting ensures better harvest.
- Cloudy weather during flowering enhances scorching of flowers due to tea mosquito infestation.
- Heavy rains during flowering and fruit set damages production.
- High temperature (39-420C) during stage of fruit set development causes fruit drop.
Cashew is an hardy crop. It can be grown on a wide range of soils except heavy clay, water logged and saline soils. Well drained red, sandy and laterite soils are ideal for good growth and yield of cashew.
Health Benefits of the Cashew Nut:
- Prevents Cancer
- Healthy Heart
- Lowers High Blood Pressure
- Helps Hair
- Healthy Bones
- Healthy Nerves
- Prevents Gallstones
- Helps in Weight Loss
- Helps Digestion
- High on Vitamins
- Healthy Gums and Teeth
- Pleasant sleep
- Free Radicals
- Macular Degeneration