Tuesday, March 20, 2012

Cashews are a little strange.

Recently I was thinking that you don't often see nut plants and that I didn't really know what a lot of them look like when they grow. I specifically was curious about the cashew because of the shape and so I consulted the interwebs and was surprised to find that it is even more strange than I expected.

A single cashew nut grows on each cashew apple. They stick right out the bottom of the fruit with a casing over the nut. The apple itself is sweet smelling and tasting reminiscent of mango, raw green pepper, and grapefruit. We don't see them much in the US because the fruit is very fragile and difficult to ship.

Now the strangest thing to me is that cashew nuts can be considered toxic before they are roasted. The casing of the nut itself contains a chemical called urushiol the same chemical found in poison ivy. This also means that the roasting process can be dangerous in the same way that burning poison ivy is a hazard to your lungs. Proper roasting does completely neutralize the urushiol and makes the nuts safe to eat and enjoy and even make gelato.

Now I'm going to read up on the brazil nut. I hear those are one of the most radioactive foods we eat, four times as much as bananas which are the most radioactive fruit (and the ones we eat are clones!!)

No comments:

Post a Comment