Cashew is a juicy fruit with a distinctive flavour that is indigenous to the northeastern part of Brazil. The fruit is called caju in Portuguese name that originated from the indigenous word akayu which means productive nut. In a botanical sense what we know as the cashew fruit is actually the pseudofruit (or false fruit). In Brazil cashew is eaten fresh and used to make preserves, juices, soft drinks, liqueurs, cakes, desserts and added to savoury dishes. Crystallised cashew is a preserve in which cashews are candied in sugar, water and cloves and then rolled onto raw sugar. Other preserves found are cashew paste, dried cashew or cashew in syrup. After the juice is squeezed the cashew bagasse may be used to make an exotic dish called Fritada de Caju (or fried cashews). The bagasse is stir fried in a very hot pan with olive oil, chopped onions, garlic, tomatoes, capsicum, dried prawns and coriander. Some recipes have coconut milk and on the baked version the fried cashew mixture is topped with beaten eggs and place in the oven until golden.
One of the species of cashew grows in gigantic trees. Located in the city of Parnamirin in the state of Rio Grande do Norte the largest cashew tree in the world covers an area of 8500m2. Due to a genetic abnormality, a continuous cycle of growth happens with the branches of the tree growing up, bending, touching the ground and creating roots. During the cashew season the tree yields more than 70,000 fruits (about 2.5 tons), which is equivalent to the supply of 70 average-sized trees. The tree is located in a national park open for visitation and tourists are welcome to pick as many cashews as they wish.
Cashew fruit can be found in Australia but only in selected fruit markets of major capital cities.
For availability in other countries please check your local fruit markets.