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Cashew Nuts Grown in Gambia

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.

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.

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