Cashews – Full of Surprises

Did you know that cashew nuts aren’t actually nuts, but seeds? Of course, that doesn’t detract from the taste of the kidney-shaped cashew. In Switzerland they are a popular snack choice and used as an ingredient in international and vegan cuisine. Their mild, nutty flavour lends itself well to savoury dishes, but also helps to enrich desserts or baked goods and makes smoothies more filling. It couldn’t be more versatile!

Food Facts Food Facts

Cashews

Class

Anacardium

Calories

595 kcal per 100 g

Nutrients

26.6g carbohydrate, 3.6g fibre, 45.2g fat, 18.2g protein per 100 g

Season

available year-round

Storage

up to 6 months in an air tight container in the fridge

The Nut That Isn’t A Nut

The cashew tree originates in Brazil, but was brought to Asia and Africa in the 16th century, where it flourished in the tropical climate. Cashews can be hard to see on the tree at first glance compared to the more conspicuous cashew apple – a 5 to 10 centimetre big, yellow or red coloured fruit. However, the cashew apple is not a real fruit, but rather the stem of the cashew nut. The sensitive pseudo-fruit is used in the cultivation regions to make juice or schnapps.

The actual kidney-shaped cashew fruit grows underneath the stem and each fruit contains one of the white seeds. Cashews sold as raw in the supermarket are not actually completely raw. The skin of cashews contains a poisonous oil, which can irritate your skin if it comes into contact with it. To eliminate this risk, cashews are steamed after harvest or roasted in oil. This dissolves the poison and the seeds are easier to peel.

Cashews – More Than A Snack

Cashews are a popular snack and a staple ingredient of trail mix. Cashew lovers can also buy the plain nuts from supermarkets, or choose from one of many flavoured options. Similarly to peanuts, salted or roasted cashews are another popular option. Other options are flavoured with curry or other spices. For those with a sweet tooth, cashew nuts with honey and salt or covered with chocolate are a delicious treat.

The seeds are more than just a snack for your next movie night. Many international cuisines use them as an ingredient, for example in an Indian chicken curry or other Asian curries. Cashews are a nutritious addition to salads and pan-fried dishes, but their mild flavour is also well suited to sweet dishes. If added to a cooked meal, they should be mixed in just before serving to avoid them softening through the heat. Chopped up in muesli, fruit salad or pastry they lend a slightly sweet, nutty taste.

A Popular Vegan Option

Cashews are a staple ingredient in the vegan diet. They add crunch to vegetable and rice dishes, but their buttery consistency also makes them a good base for sauces, dips or desserts. They act as a valuable source of nutrients for those avoiding animal products. Not only do cashews taste good, they are also healthy as they are rich in minerals like magnesium and iron, and supply protein. Compared to other nuts, they are relatively low in fat.

Soak cashews overnight and then mix with liquid, spices and other ingredients of your choice in a high-performance mixer for a spicy pasta sauce or a light dessert cream – let your creativity flow. Cashews are also a good base for sweet or savoury dishes. Cashew cheese or cashew cream cheese is another cashew product. If you don’t own a mixer, you can buy cashew puree in the supermarket made from the raw or roasted seed, or filling cashew milk.

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