Many are surprised to learn that cashews are not actually nuts. Nor are cashews legumes.
If a cashew isn’t a tree nut, and if they don’t grow undergrown like legumes, then what is a cashew? Cashews come from a tropical plant called Anacardium occidentale.
This is where it gets interesting. The tree produces a fleshy, pear-shaped fruit-like structure called a cashew apple yet this isn’t technically the part of the plant that’s the fruit. The real fruit is a kidney-shaped structure, known as a drupe that grows at the bottom of the cashew “apple”
Inside this odd-looking growth, the drupe, is where you find the edible seed that everyone is familiar with, the cashew nut. Technically, the seed (cashew nut) and the outer shell (the drupe) are considered both the nut and the fruit. Unlike tree nuts, the outer shell has a toxic substance which is why you only find shelled cashews for sale
How to store cashews
Like most nuts, cashews can turn rancid due to their high fat content. When stored properly, they can be saved for a reasonably long time.
Store cashews in a cool, dry place in an airtight container to avoid absorption of other food odours. At room temperature, they will not last as long as they will if in an airtight container and stored in the fridge. In the fridge, they can last up to six months.
Alternatively, you can easily freeze cashews for up to one year.
One ounce, or 28.5 g, about 18 whole cashews have the following:
- 157 calories
- 8.5 g carbohydrate
- 1.7 g sugar
- 1 g fiber
- 5 g protein
- 12.5 g fat
- 1.9 mg iron
- 83 mg magnesium
- 168 mg phosphorus
- 188 mg potassium
- 1.6 mg zinc
They also have small amounts of vitamin B3 (niacin), vitamin E, folate (vitamin B9), vitamin K, and vitamin B2 (riboflavin).
Curry and turmeric
Both of these spices have had some good press regarding their curcumin content. Curcuminoids are biologically active pholyphenols found in turmeric and is used as a spice on its own and is also a main ingredient in curry blends.
The reality is, curcumin is poorly absorbed, even in the best of times. The best therapeutic evidence for curcuminoids as it relates to disease management is with standardized curcumin supplements. In this recipe, both curry and turmeric make what this recipe is; a fantastic tasting, flavourful dish that makes the perfect snack.
- 2 Tbsp of olive avocado or macadamia nut oil.
- 2 tsp. curry powder
- 1 tsp. cumin
- 1 tsp. turmeric
- 1 tsp. sea salt
- 1/4 tsp. cayenne
- 2 cups roasted cashews
Preheat the oven to 350 degrees F.
Heat olive oil at low/medium heat in a small skillet.
Add curry powder, cumin, turmeric, sea salt and cayenne; cook, stirring constantly, until aromatic, about 30 seconds.
Toss the cashews with the curry olive oil mixture on a baking sheet; spread the nuts in a single layer.
Bake until the nuts are hot and shiny, about 10 minutes.
Cool to room temperature.
Doug Cook RDN is a Toronto based integrative and functional nutritionist and dietitian with a focus on digestive, gut, and mental health. Follow me on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter.