Enjot the NOT-SO-NUT NUTS by PLANTING CASHEWS!

If you are looking for a healthy fruit option, find out why cashew should be there on your list.

Scientifically called Anacardium occidentale, Cashew, evergreen shrub or tree of the sumac family (Anacardiaceae). It is cultivated because of its edible fruit and seeds. The seeds of the fruit are called “cashew nuts,” though they are not real nuts.

The NUTS

The curvy nuts that are rich in nutrients and compounds that are beneficial to one’s health. It can be easily added to some dishes like Cashew Chicken, Cream of Cashew Pea Soup, Thai Cashew Chicken, and many more. Similar to some other nuts, cashew nuts may also help improve overall health. They’ve been linked to a few benefits like weight loss, improved blood sugar control, and a healthier heart.

The seeds, rich in oil and distinctively flavored, are commonly used in South and Southeast Asian cuisine. They are essential ingredients of southern Indian dishes like chicken and vegetables. In Western countries, dried or fried nuts are eaten mainly as a protein-rich snack food.

The TREE

The tree was mainly cultivated in Brazil and grow abundantly in tropical areas like India for commercial purposes. It was brought to the East African region by Portuguese missionaries during the late 16th century, and it became abundant at low altitudes near the seacoast.

Under excellent conditions with good quality soil and high humidity, the tree can grow to 12 meters (40 feet) high. It has leathery leaves that are spirally arranged and elliptical.

The wood from cashew trees is useful in local economies for making shipping crates, boats, charcoal, and gums similar to gum Arabic.

The FRUITS

The Cashew’s fruit is called cashew apple is used in jams, jellies, and in beverages. A ripe cashew apple is yellow-orange or red. It tastes sweet and sour and is vaguely redolent of the apples that we are familiar with, but it contains a good amount of vitamin C. It has a sweet, fruity aroma. One important thing to note is to be cautious with the cashew parts because it is related to poison ivy and poison sumac and can cause an allergic reaction in some people.

There is a resin within the fruit shells, which can be used as an insecticide and in plastic production; it is also significant in traditional medicines.

Besides, a significant amount of copper, magnesium, and manganese are contained in the fruit. This mineral is essential for energy production, healthy brain development, and a strong immune system. Magnesium and manganese are vital for bone health.

WHERE CAN YOU GROW CASHEW TREES?

cashew fruits, some are green and one is red

Countries including Brazil, India, Vietnam, Africa (Tanzania and Mozambique), and South East Asia are the leading producers of cashew nuts. Trees are best grown in wet, dry tropics.

An average day temperature of around 25°C (77°F) is ideal, and day temperatures for growing should not go down below 10°C (50°F). Cashew trees can handle temperatures above 40°C (105°F) well as long as they have some water, they easily grow like weeds. Sandy soil is best for growing cashews trees.

How To Plant Cashew Trees

You can grow Cashew from its seeds. Whether you know an area with a tree with fresh seeds, they can be readily germinated. However, this process won’t give you an identical result, which means you cannot ensure that the fruits will taste the same taste as its parent tree.

You can opt to plant cashew trees using stock-seed or grafted trees as they require lesser time to grow into bigger trees. You can buy stocks from a commercial grower near your area as they usually propagate their own.

Growing from seeds should be initially planted in pots or containers or directly to the ground. Keep them moist until they appear sprouting, perhaps about 4-5 days.

Best planting time

You can simply plant anytime as long as you have the seeds or the seedlings, and the readily-available planting area ideally a well-drained spot, with some protection from strong winds.

Provide spacing for your plants as when they get mature, they needed about 10 meters distance between them, and they grow to 12 meters tall.

Water and Fertilizer

Although cashews grow best in sandy soils, the downside is that when not given proper care and attention, your tree will wither and develop unhealthy because sandy soils do not hold much water and are generally not very fertile.

Maintain enough watering mostly during the dry season. Fertilize the trees when they actively grow, especially during flowering and nut development. The plants need nitrogen, phosphorus, and possibly zinc.