Tuesday, January 21, 2014

Bite me: French Cashew

I plopped down into Grenada smack dab in the middle of Mango and French Cashew season. Talk about good timing!
Freshly picked French Cashew
Cashew Apple or English Cashew (local names from our colonial days) is a fleshy fruit that carries a nut embedded at its base. In Grenada, and I'm sure in other parts of the world, there are many species of the Anacardium occidentale. Presently, the 'nutless' version, known as French Cashew (fries aren't the only thing the French stole), is at the height of its season, sold on every sidewalk and bursting from every tree. A sweet, ripe cashew can more or less be guaranteed by a rich, royal red skin. The occasional poke from a bird is not only further confirmation of ripeness, but a warning that if you don't eat it, he will.

The mouth-puckering taste that accompanies the sweetness of the cashew is called astringent. Its presence in food usually indicates a rich antioxidant and vitamin C content. Polyphenols such as tannins are found in the skin and are linked cancer prevention, reduction of colon inflammation, detoxing and through its diuretic properties, cardiovascular health.  One cup of Cashew apple can provide at least twice as much Vitamin C needed in one day.  Look out for Vitamin B, Carotene, Iron, Calcium and Phosphorus.  Cashew is also high in soluble and insoluble fiber which helps you to feel full after meals and eases bowel movement.

Some cultures make cashew juice, liquor, stews and candies. The possibilities are many. In the Spice Isle, we eat till we belly full and till d season done. In conclusion, this is a well known fruit should not be taken for granted. Eat it while you can, to a healthier tomorrow.