History of Cashew Nut A World’s Most Favorite Nut
Are you curious to find out about the history of cashews, the most loved nuts in the world? Find out some interesting facts about cashews that you didn’t know before. Get to learn about –
- Why are cashews always shelled?
- How were cashews discovered?
- How did cashews reach India?
The word cashew came into existence from the Acaju, a Tupi-Indian word for ‘nut.’ Unlike other conventional nuts, these grow out like little tails out of the base of cashew apples. The reason why they are sold shelled is that their shell causes skin irritation. The irritants are found in the shell oil, but not in the nuts themselves.
Interestingly, the seed is covered by a double shell that contains an allergenic phenolic resin with an anacardic acid. Related to oil urushiol found in poison ivy, you can expect this composition to be a potent skin irritant. Because of this reason, some people show allergic symptoms upon its consumption.
Cashews – The First Discovery
One might seek answers for the question where did cashews originate? Well, it might be a little surprising to know that the Europeans in Brazil were the first to discover cashew nuts around 1558. As they had irritating shells, people considered it to be inedible at first. Gradually, they learned that the seeds didn’t elicit the same reaction on the skin, thanks to the Tupi-Indian tribe. They also taught them how to roast cashews to let go of the irritant.
The Europeans found the nutty flavor of cashews to be very amusing. They would use the cashew apple pulp for making wine. Surprisingly, the natives learnt about eating cashews from the primates. Local capuchin monkeys would use basic tools to break open the shells to access the nuts.
Modern History of Cashews
Moving on from the info about origin of cashew, it is now relevant to know how cashews reached the boundaries of Indian states. Soon after the discovery, the Portuguese brought cashews to Goa in around 1560. Luckily, the Indians discovered the nut’s healing properties, which made it quite popular in the land.
By the second half of the 16th century, these miraculous nuts spread to Africa and Southeast Asia. At present, several cultures and countries depend on cashew seeds for their commerce and food.
Around 1905, the cashews reached the United States but didn’t gain popularity until the 1920s. By 1941, India became a primary supplier of cashews to the States by shipping around 20,000 tons of cashews annually.
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