The cashew tree bears red or yellow fruit, which sports a
raw cashew nut encased in a greenish-grey shell. The fruit
is edible and ranges from sweet when ripe to a little bitter
when picked before its time. Many say it is an acquired taste,
as all but the ripest surprisingly suck the moisture from
your mouth with each bite.
A wine is sometimes made by pressing the fruit and fermenting the juice, and Gambians
claim that eating too many fruits can have the same effect as the
wine. Beware of the cashew juice—it leaves difficult to remove stains on
clothing. Undoubtedly, hundreds of ladies with trays of roasted cashew
nuts on balanced on their heads will beleaguer you to patronize them
wherever you go.
Because of its high value
cashew nut exporters in West Africa
are increasingly exporting the nuts to the European markets.
It has become a popular cash crop among poor rural farmers.
If West African cashews seem expensive compared to groundnuts, consider
the fact that each and every nut must be roasted in its oily
shell, meticulously cracked open, and peeled from thin inner
skin before being ready for consumption. For this reason, never
pick a cashew from a tree without first consulting the
owner—each little fruit and accompanying nut is highly prized.
Also, be aware that the oily nut casing or the smoke from
roasting them causes some people to develop a rash similar to
Production: 3,000 metric tonnes per annum
Originally from Brazil