To celebrate our birthdays, Justin and Leigh donated a Cashew Tree to be planted in Guatemala as part of a small community eco-initiative called Buenas Cosas or Good Things. “Cashew with love to Guatemala dedicated to Paul & Nikki – May it help spread more love and green in the world.” What a nice idea and it looks like a really interesting project – watch their video here: http://www.buenascosas.org/?p=7502
So, my mind was set to thinking about Cashews. I decided to make Cashew inspired salads for our weekend lunches and also learn a bit more about them. This is what I learnt:
The cashew is the seed of a tropical evergreen plant originating in Brazil related to the mango and pistachio. Unlike most fruits where the seed is found inside the flesh, the cashew seed hangs from the bottom of the cashew apple. Although the fresh cashew apple fruit is edible and delicious, it is only available to those who grow the plant as it is very perishable. Cashew apples begin to ferment as soon as they are picked and will barely last 24 hours.
The kidney-shaped cashew nut is encased in a hard shell with two layers. In between these layers is a black substance called cardol, which is extremely caustic and can cause blistering of the skin upon contact. This substance is removed during the shelling process and is used in the making of such products as varnish, insecticide, paint, and even rocket lubricant. For this primary reason, cashews are never sold in the shell.
Cashew nuts contain more than 80 nutrients including phosphorus, magnesium, copper, high amounts of tryptophan, are a source of vitamin B, potassium, folic acid, protein and have small quantities of iron and calcium.
This salad is one of our favourites – couscous, roasted orange peppers, avo and fresh coriander leaves. I added some small yellow tomatoes on a bed of lettuce before scattering with cashews. Really yummy and a perfect lunch on a sunny day. Today, we harvested beetroot from the garden, steamed them and tossed in garlic, lemon juice, fresh thyme leaves and olive oil. Toasted some cashews and served with garden lettuce, the tiny beetroot leaves and lots of black pepper. A very earthy winter salad.
Thanks Justi and Leigh for the inspiration!