Cashew, it is also called Indian nut - belongs to the genus of woody plants of the family of sumas. This is a tropical evergreen tree with a thick spreading crown, rarely reaching a height of more than 10 meters. In the spring, yellow-pink flowers bloom on numerous branches, and after three months the fruits appear.
Cashew fruit is a juicy stalk (cashew apple) with a sweet and sour taste and aroma, red or yellow, in shape resembling a pear. At the top of the stalk there is a small nut in a hard shell - cashew nut, the benefits and harms of which are combined in an amazing way due to its rich chemical composition. They make juices from cashews, prepare desserts, and make jam. Unfortunately, fresh stalks are perishable products and are not suitable for transportation. But nuts can be stored for a long time and exported around the world.
A bit of history
Brazil is considered the homeland of cashews. The benefits and harms of this plant were well known to the local Chikun Indians , who called it acaju , which means "yellow fruit." Not only the fruits of the tree were used, but also the bark with leaves. In addition to cooking, cashews were also used in everyday life and medicine. In the XVI century. This exotic nut was discovered by the Portuguese when they were actively exploring new territories of America, and brought the find to Europe. Later he became known throughout the world. Now cashews are grown in more than 30 countries, and the largest exporters are Vietnam and India, far ahead of Brazil in terms of supply.
Nutritional Value of Cashews
Many people ask: cashews - benefit and harm, but what more? Like all other nuts, cashews are a very nutritious product. The high content of proteins, fats and carbohydrates allows you to quickly replenish energy, when it is still far from lunch. Cashew is also rich in vitamins and minerals - just one handful of nuts can provide the daily intake of many nutrients. First of all, these are B vitamins, vitamins E and K. Well, the mineral composition is almost the same as the Ministry of Health recommends: from calcium and iron to selenium and zinc.
Who will benefit from cashew nuts? For those who want to strengthen the immune system, play sports or perform hard physical work, eat irregularly, and experience constant stress. Who has hypertension, diabetes, endocrine diseases, asthma, anemia, psoriasis. Regular consumption of cashews will help normalize metabolism, reduce the amount of bad cholesterol in the blood, strengthen the cardiovascular system, and prevent osteochondrosis.
But in the pursuit of a healthy diet, do not get too carried away with cashew nuts. Benefit and harm are present in them equally, therefore it is better to use them within reasonable limits - no more than 30 g per day. A large amount of fat in nuts can adversely affect liver function. In some people, they cause allergies. Their intake should be limited to those who seek to reduce body weight, but a small amount of nuts per day will benefit, since the polyunsaturated fatty acids contained in them help maintain the right weight.
Familiar fried with salt or sweetened cashew nuts - this is not all that cooking offers. Their delicate creamy taste blends wonderfully with fruits and vegetables, with meat and various cereals. Cashews are added to cakes and pastries, ice cream and breakfast cereals, salads, first and second courses, sauces and drinks. Supporters of separate nutrition can safely eat cashews with protein foods and carbohydrates, since nuts are neutral products.
How to choose cashews and where to store them
So that the benefits of cashews do not turn into harm, you need to choose only fresh healthy nuts. As a rule, they are whole, with a flat surface and a light cream color. It’s good when you can try nuts when buying: they should not have extraneous odors and smacks.
Crushed nuts indicate improper transportation and lose their nutritional value faster. Shriveled, cracked, dark, with a yellowish tinge - they speak about the expired shelf life and will definitely disappoint with their taste. You should not even try moldy nuts: under the influence of a fungus, aflatoxins are formed in them, which cause serious illnesses.
Store cashews in a cool place in a closed container - so they will be fresh for about a month. They will remain in the refrigerator for six months, and in the freezer for a year.