Wednesday, January 20, 2010

Forgotten Fruits: Cashew Apple

Cashews - Maranones
Originally uploaded by rnoltenius
So, it's the return of the forgotten fruits topic. Today I'm going to talk about the Cashew apple (or marañón). There is a lot to discuss when talking about the Cashew apple and it has a lot of implications as a fruit.

As you could have guessed the Cashew nut and the Cashew apple are from the same tree, and as you can see, the nut actually grows from the end of the fruit (making the cashew apple a pseudo fruit).

You may be wondering why the cashew nut is so prevalent yet the fruit is nowhere to be found anywhere! Because this is a perfect example of a fruit that is unavailable to our markets because it cannot be shipped. The skin of the fruit is too fragile for shipping, so we won't see it in any markets anytime soon. "What about at a farmers market?" you ask. Well, it's a tropical tree that begins to decline at about 50 degrees F and will die if temperatures get close to freezing. Trust me, I tried growing a tree once and it didn't even have a chance. Until I get a large greenhouse, I won't be trying it again.

There are also a lot of arguments against shipping foods overseas, however shipping via boat is actually super-efficient and more greenhouse gases and emissions are emitted from delivery trucks going short distances. So really the best solution is to grow your own food in terms of shipping emissions concerns.1

The fruit is described as very juicy and sweet and juice made from the fruit is fairly popular in Brazil. I suppose the juice could be shipped and sold here, but introducing new foods to existing markets is probably very hard. That is, until someone claims it as a "superfruit"

Source: 1 Weber, Christopher & Matthews, Scott (2008) Food-Miles and the Relative Climate Impacts of Food Choices in the United States, Environmental Science and Technology 42 (10)


Joe Garcia said...

I almost feel like your PhotoShop hoaxing me.

Jorge A. Arredondo said...

Are you shitting me?! How come the cashew nut on the yellow cashew apple doesn't have a shadow? I agree with Joe

Rebecca Stoops said...

The cashew apple is not very tasty! I think that's the reason it's not sold in the US. The meat is foamy and the juice is pretty bland. To get to the nut, you have to crack open the shell, which leaks corrosive liquid. I think most people use the apple for juice, which they mix with sugar to make it taste better.

Lisa Dabbs said...

I grew up in Colombia eating the cashew apple and I think the flavor is just fine. Perhaps it is an acquired taste.