This beloved, wholesome nut is one of the healthiest foods in the world, and the kidney-shaped delight is also one of the most versatile. They can beaten raw, roasted, or seasoned in a multitude of ways, but they can also be cooked, turned into milk, and more. Packed with vitamins C, E, and K, as well as iron, magnesium, zinc, and a ton of antioxidants, they’re also a decent source of protein.
Studies have shown that the consumption of cashew nuts can help to improve hear health, restrict the growth of cancerous tumours, aid in weight loss (thanks to their healthy fat content), combat depression, boost energy, help keep our bones and teeth healthier, improve our skin and hair, keep our immune system strong, and even reduce our risk of developing gallstones.
How do you use it?
Cashews can be used in a plethora of ways. They can be eaten raw or cooked, and when roasted, they make a delicious snack – flavour them with sea salt, cumin, honey, cinnamon, paprika, chili, black pepper, mint, maple, coconut, barbeque sauce… the options and combinations are endless. Their naturally buttery, creamy quality also lends them very well to sauces and creams, and cashew cream is a delicious vegan alternative for regular dairy cream and half-and-half, and can be used to make everything from soups and sauces to ice cream, pies, puddings, and more. Cashew cheese is another vegan go-to, and one that’s surprisingly easy to make: All you have to do is soak, drain, and rinse the cashews before pulsing in a food processor to the desired texture, and adding seasonings. Meanwhile, cashew milk is a well-loved dairy-free nut-based alternative to “regular” milk. Cashews can even be made into juices and jams, while the bark of their fruit has historically also been used for medicinal purposes.
Technically speaking, the cashew nut isn’t, in fact, a nut – it’s actually a seed, when you consider it by its botanical definition. Cashew nuts grow out of a fruit called cashew apples, which are an “accessory fruit” to the nut, since the latter is the part that we typically consume. The nut grows on the outside of the fruit, and they are native to Brazil.