Five Random Factoids About Cashews

  1. The Cashew plant is native to northeastern Brazil. Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree, caju, which in turn derives from the indigenous Tupi name, acajú. [Thank you, Wikipedia!]
  2. Although a nut in the culinary sense, in the botanical sense the fruit of the cashew is a seed. The seed is surrounded by a double shell containing a  a potent skin irritant chemically related the toxin found in poison ivy. This caustic resin is actually used in industry to make varnishes and insecticides!
  3. In Malaysia, the young leaves of the plant are often eaten raw as salad or with sambal belacan (shrimp paste mixed with chili and lime).
  4. Although cashews may be labeled as raw, they are never completely raw since heat is a necessity during the shelling and cleaning process. (I learned this earlier today from my very smart friend Lindsay!)
  5. Cashews are delicious when eaten in a Cashew apple curry on jasmine rice*.


*No, I didn’t make this myself. It came from a far far better place: Devour. If you’re not already familiar with it, Devour is a teeny tiny restaurant on Broughton St. in Victoria. Everyday the women who own it make about six entirely original dishes, and every day, each and every one is delicious. I can say this with authority, as I have now eaten there dozens of times, and have never had a bad meal. I have however, for slightly more than the price of a Big Mac meal, had a lunch that made me nearly weep with pleasure, and has caused me to immediately scuttle back to the office to email all my fellow office dwellers in an effort of exhort them to not miss the lamb shank/crab salad/tortiere/casoulet with duck confit etc. Go soon, go often.

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