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Cashews: Health Benefits as Seen Around the World

Cashews have many uses around the world that are tied to the cashew's health properties. However, it is not just the cashew nut that is utilized but the shell and the cashew fruit as well. From oil to alcohol, cashews are a versatile health plant. They are native to Brazil but are used in all parts of the world.  

Cashews are Toxic if Not Properly Processed:

Cashews have to be processed properly. Often people believe that the cashews bought in a store or online are raw but in fact, cashews, if eaten raw or freshly picked, are toxic. They must be roasted in the proper way to remove toxins and make them safe to eat. This is a major reason for their cost because the processing is both labor-intensive and expensive. That is why in many parts of the world cashews are seen as a status symbol.  

The cashew nut shell also has oils in it that are toxic and can cause a poison ivy-like rash if not handled properly. This is why cashews are not sold to consumers with their shells still on. However, even though it can cause a rash, it has properties that make it great for anti-termite lumber treatments.  

India and the Cashew Apple: 

India is the largest consumer of cashews in the world as well as one of the biggest producers. This allows them access to different parts of the cashew byproducts such as the cashew apple and the cashew nut shell the countries that don’t produce cashews don’t have access to. Producing cashews in country is important because the cashew apple is too delicate to export and would rot before it got there. The cashew fruit that grows the cashew off the end can be eaten fresh and in India, where it is plentiful, they make preserves, jams, and vinegar, and put it in curries. They also often used the cashew nut to garnish curry.  

Cashew Alcohol in Brazil: 

As the birthplace of the cashew Brazil also has access to the whole fruit and they utilize it in a spectacular way, to make alcohol. Most alcohols are made from fermented fruits or vegetables so it makes sense that they would ferment the cashew apple. They make fermented cashew juice that is a bottled table wine and they also use cashew juice in various cocktails or as a substitute for almond in orgeat liquor.   

Cashew Milk (Cheese and butter):

Cashew milk is a wonderful alternative to dairy milk. It is one of the lower calorie options when it comes to different types of milk such as oat, coconut, and dairy milk. Cashew milk can also be used to make cashew butter and cashew cheese 

Cashew Oils:

Cashew oil is often made from broken pieces that are damaged during processing and not pretty enough to be sold on their own. They are put through a further process of cold pressing to squeeze out the oil which can be used in cooking.  

There are many different uses and preparations for cashews from oils, to alcohol, to termite treatments, to cashew butter but none of them can really beat snacking on plain cashews.  



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