It’s Cashew season again and the earth’s pink carpet has been spread.
And in the Caribbean, it is very easy to get caught up with the pink, juicy cashews that are borne from these blossoms. But we are actually very fortunate to have the best of both. Firstly is the nutless cashew apple locally known as French Cashew and ‘nutted’ cashew apple locally known as English Cashew, all compliments colonialism.
The latter is actually called Anacardium occidentale and over the years has managed to stay out of the spotlight because of its very astringent taste. If you are brave enough to bite through its thick red skin, you will encounter a rich mango coloured flesh that is soft and stringy. You will immediately start smacking the roof of your mouth and wonder if anyone really eats this fruit. Suddenly, your eyes will head south and fall in line with nut you had been avoiding. Realizing the way out, you will collect this nut and many others and dry and roast to perfection.
The flesh may not be palatable in its raw state. However, it can be used to produce beverages, preserves and desserts. In India, it’s popularly consumed as juice and Brazil as wine. The properties of the plant go on to act as a resin, waterproof material, gum, lubricating oil, ink, and anti termite solution.
As unpopular as the fruit seems, it is worth the while exploring new ways to use it.