I recently took a short trip to the city with lots of brown roof tops; Ibadan city. One of the fruits I had the opportunity of eating was the Cashew Apple. The fruits were big and juicy and everywhere and I wondered if we didn’t get the memo in Lagos. The cashew apple is the fleshy part of the whole cashew fruit which also contains the nut. Both are highly nutritious.
The Cashew apples were mostly yellow in color with some red tints on some. The fruit feels fragile when ripe, and gets brushed easily yet the juice is not as delicate; the astringent and acrid juice makes you weary of your clothing which can be ruined with just a drop of it. The Astringent taste can however be removed by steaming the fruit or boiling in salt water for few minutes.
Cashew though native to Brazil, is widely produced in Nigeria, India, Cote de Voire and Vietnam where it is more popular for its nuts.
The apple can be eaten fresh or cooked and even used to produce juices and wine – both alcoholic and nonalcoholic. While I do not see much of preserves from Cashew apple in Nigeria, you would find Jams and chutneys in other countries.
The goodness in the apple is that it contains very high Vitamin C; 4 times higher than citrus fruits like orange and about 10 times higher in pineapples. It is also rich in antioxidants, dietary fibre and the apple is even used to treat diarrhea traditionally.
It is important to also note that the Cashew apple like the nut contains Urushiol, a chemical that can cause some irritations on the skin for some people. You would also find Urushiol in the skin of the Mango fruit.
In terms of diversifying your meals, Cashew apples, apart from the nuts, are a great addition, when in season. So I encourage you, try it before its time is up for the year.
- Akinwale T. 2000. Cashew apple juice: its use in fortifying the nutritional quality of some tropical fruits. European Food Reseaarch and Technology. Volume 211, Issue 3, pp 205 -207. doi:10.1007/s002170050024
- Morton J.F. 1987. Cashew apple, Anacardium occidentale L.Fruits of warm climates, Julia F. Morton. Center for New Crops & Plant Products, Department of Horticulture and Landscape Architecture, Purdue University, W. Lafayette, IN. pp. 239–240