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.
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
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 poison ivy.
3,000 metric tonnes per annum