Raw Cashew-Nuts

The cashew tree, native to Brazil, was introduced to Mozambique and then India in the sixteenth century by the Portuguese, as a means of controlling coastal erosion. It was spread within these countries with the aid of elephants that ate the bright cashew fruit along with the attached nut. The nut was too hard to digest and was later expelled with the droppings. It was not until the nineteenth century that plantations were developed and the tree then spread to a number of other countries in Africa, Asia and Latin America.

Cashew processing, using manual techniques, was started in India in the first half of the twentieth century. It was exported from there to the wealthy western markets, particularly the United States. In the 1960s, some of the producing countries in East Africa began to process nuts domestically rather than sending them to India for processing. This allowed them to benefit from the sale of both processed nuts and the extracted cashew nut shell liquid.

Cashew is held with great esteem in many customs and cultures. Its value can be estimated from a question that appeared on the household census in Mozambique that asked whether the house owned any cashew trees.
Cashew is known by many names. In Mozambique, the Maconde tribe refer to it as the "Devil's Nut". It is offered at wedding ceremonies as a token of fertility and is considered by many to have aphrodisiac properties.


The cashew tree and its products are known by the following names in other parts of the world:

Portuguese caju, cajueiro, pe de caju, castanha de caju, maca de caju
French cajou, acajou, ancardier, noix de cajou, pomme de cajou, amande de cajou
English cashew, cashew tree, cashew nut, cashew apple, cashew kernel
Spanish maranon, nuez de maranon
Hindi cadju
Sinhalese cadju
Italian anacardio, noce d'anacardio, mandorlad'anacardio
Dutch acajou, kashu
German acajuban, kashunuss
Swahili mkanju, korosho
Somali bibbo, bibs
Indonesian jambu mente, jambu mete



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