The cashew nut comes from a pear-shaped fruit called the cashew apple. Curiously, the nut grows out- side of the apple and hangs down so that it can be easily harvested. A native of Brazil, where natives make the apples into preserves or liqueur, the cashew also grows in India. About 90 percent of our domestic supply of cashews comes from India.
Cashews are rich in protein as well as magnesium, phosphorus and potassium. They contain less fat than most other nuts.
Cashews contain a toxic oil called cardol between the inner and outer shell. This is released by cracking the nuts and roasting them at 350 de- grees. They are then cracked and roasted once again. These are then marketed as “raw” cashews.
We recommend soaking “raw” cashews in salt water and then lightly toasting them to make them more digestible. Unlike other nuts which benefit from an overnight soaking, “raw” cashews should be soaked no longer than 6 hours.
Always buy whole cashews rather than pieces as they are less likely to be stale.
This recipe appears on page 515 of the book Nourishing Traditions. Makes 4 cups.
- 4 cups “raw” cashews
- 1 tablespoons sea salt
- filtered water
Some care must be taken in preparing cashews. They will become slimy and develop a disagreeable taste if allowed to soak too long or dry out too slowly, perhaps because they come to us not truly raw but having already undergone two separate heatings. You may dry them in a 200 to 250 degree oven—the enzymes have already been destroyed during processing.
- Soak cashews in salt and filtered water for 6 hours (no longer).
- Drain in a colander.
- Spread on a stainless steel baking pan and place in a warm oven (about 200 degrees) for 12 to 24 hours, turning occasionally, until completely dry and crisp. [A dehydrator may also be used at the same temperature.]
- Store in an airtight container.
- Great for school lunches!