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Cashew apple

Introduction of Cashew apple

            Scientific name - Anacardium occidentale

The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit (sometimes called a pseudocarp or false fruit). What appears to be the fruit is an oval or pear-shaped structure, a hypocarpium, that develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the cashew flower. Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as mararion, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5-11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong "sweet" smell and a sweet taste.

The pulp of the cashew apple is very juicy, but the skin is fragile, making it unsuitable for transport. In Latin America, a fruit drink is made from the cashew apple pulp which has a very refreshing taste and tropical flavor that can be described as having notes of mango, raw green pepper, and just a little hint of grapefruit-like citrus. The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple.

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Nutritional Value of Cashew apple

Cal 53k
Moisture 86.3g
Minerals 8g
Fiber 3.2g
Carbs 11.1g
Calcium 10mg
Phosphorous 67mg
Iron 2mg
Carotene 23ug
Vitamin C 49mg
Potassium 124mg
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Health benefits of Cashew apple

Cashew apples possess anti-bacterial properties and have been proven to be effective in treating stomach ulcers and gastritis, which is usually caused by H. pylori bacteria. Its juice is rich in vitamin C and has an anti-scurvy effect. Cashew apple juice is widely utilized in the cosmetic industry due to the presence of antioxidants and is used in the preparation of various creams and shampoos. Cashew extract contains anarcardic acid which is an antioxidant and has been shown to limit the pigmentation effects of aging and to eradicate the cancer cells. Fruit of the cashew tree is used to treat infant's thrush and sore mouth. In the Amazon, people use the tea prepared from the bark and the cashew apple juice for chronic dysentery and as an anti-diarrheal remedy. It is also believed to possess sudorific or sweat-inducing properties. The juice extracted from the cashew apple can also serve as an ointment for aches of rheumatism and neuralgia.

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Climatic requirements

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Cashew trees are genuinely tropical and very frost sensitive. The trees grow in a wide spectrum of climatic regions between the 25N and S latitudes. Although the cashew can withstand high temperatures, a monthly mean of 25C is regarded as optimal. Yearly rainfall of 1 000 mm is sufficient for production but 1 500 to 2 000 mm can be regarded as optimal. The cashew tree has a well-developed root system and can tolerate drought conditions. Rain during the flowering season causes flower abortion due to anthracnose and mildew. During harvesting, while nuts are on the ground, rain and overcast weather causes the nuts to rot or start germinating. Nuts germinate within 4 days when lying on wet soil.

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How to open/cut a cashew apple

Use a paring knife to cut away the flesh surrounding the cashew nut shell. Take caution to ensure the nut remains in tact, and set the nut aside. This will prevent ingesting any of the shell's toxic resin, which may cause blisters and burning if it comes in contact with the skin.

Enjoy the fruit by biting into it like an apple, or by cutting it into slices. The fruit does not require peeling and has no core needing removal.

Note: Do not attempt to eat the raw nut, as it must undergo extensive treatment to become nontoxic.

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Fresh cashew apples only keep for 24 hours at room temperature. In the refrigerator, the fruit will keep for a maximum of two weeks. Keep cashew apples in a polyethylene bag for best results.

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