National Cashew Day
National Cashew Day is celebrated annually in the United States on November 23 and is said to have been first observed in 2015. Cashew trees are native to South America and are loved around the world. The U.S. is a major consumer of cashews, because they are a great snack food and are packed with substantial health benefits. In addition to being a great snack, cashews are often a tasty addition to entrees and desserts. In celebration of National Cashew Day, I thought it would be fun to learn more about cashews. So, here are some interesting and fun facts about cashews:
- They are actually drupe seeds and not nuts (they are attached to the bottom of a cashew apple and are encased in a shell);
- There are 33 different grades of cashews, but only 26 of them are marketed;
- They are a member of the Anacardiaceae family of trees (related to mango, poison ivy, poison oak, sumac, Peruvian pepper and pistachio);
- Their name comes from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree “caju”;
- They are not sold with their shells still intact because it is not safe to eat them raw (they must be unshelled and then roasted or steamed to remove toxins);
- Their shell contains a substance called urushiol, which can cause itching, blisters and rashes, and can be toxic when ingested;
- They require a frost-free tropical climate to grow;
- Vietnam, Brazil, Cote d’lvoire, India and Indonesia are some of the major exporters of cashews to the U.S.;
- They are a good source of healthy fats, protein, fiber, vitamins and minerals; and
- They are cholesterol free.
So, on November 23, enjoy some tasty cashews, while benefitting your health. Happy National Cashew Day!