The cashew nut is a popular snack, and its rich flavor means that it is often eaten on its own, lightly salted or sugared. Cashew nuts are sold covered in chocolate, but less often than the cheaper peanuts and almonds.
Cashew nuts also factor in Thai cuisine and Chinese cuisine, generally in whole form, and in Indian cuisine, often ground into sauces such as shahi korma, and also used as garnish in Indian sweets and desserts.
The cashew nut can also be harvested in its tender form, when the shell has not hardened and is green in color. The shell is soft at this stage, and can be cut into two with a knife. The kernel is extracted (it is still corrosive at this stage, so gloves may be required) and soaked in turmeric water to get rid of the corrosive material before use. This is mostly found in Kerala cuisine, typically in the avial, a dish that contains several vegetables, grated coconut, turmeric and green chilies.
In Goa, India, the cashew apple (the accessory fruit) is mashed, the juice is extracted and kept for fermentation for 2–3 days. Fermented juice then undergoes a double distillation process. The resulting beverage is called feni. In the southern region of Mtwara, Tanzania, the cashew apple (bibo in Swahili) is dried and saved. Later it is reconstituted with water and fermented, then distilled to make a strong liquor often referred to by the generic name, gongo.
In Mozambique, it is very common among the cashew farmers to make a strong liquor from the cashew apple which is called "agua ardente" (burning water).
According to An Account of the Island of Ceylon written by Robert Percival an alcohol had been distilled in the early twentieth century from the juice of the fruit, and had been manufactured in the West Indies. Apparently the Dutch considered it superior to brandy as a "liqueur."
cashew nuts, raw Nutritional value per 100 g (3.5 oz)
Energy 2,314 kJ (553 kcal)
Carbohydrates 30.19 g
Sugars 5.91 g
Dietary fiber 3.3 g
Fat 43.85 g
Protein 18.22 g
Thiamine (Vit. B1) .42 mg (32%)
Riboflavin (Vit. B2) .06 mg (4%)
Niacin (Vit. B3) 1.06 mg (7%)
Pantothenic acid (B5) .86 mg (17%)
Vitamin B6 .42 mg (32%)
Folate (Vit. B9) 25 µg (6%)
Vitamin C .5 mg (1%)
Calcium 37 mg (4%)
Iron 6.68 mg (53%)
Magnesium 292 mg (79%)
Phosphorus 593 mg (85%)
Potassium 660 mg (14%)
Zinc 5.78 mg (58%)
Percentages are relative to US recommendations for adults.
Source: USDA Nutrient database