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Cashew trees(Kaju Trees) is a spreading, low-branched, large leaves, evergreen and medium-sized tree. Cashew trees(Kaju Trees) can grow to a height of 6-12 m. It is many branched. The cashew tree is a multipurpose species, and cashew products have a wide range of uses. The kernel of the cashew nut, the pseudofruit (cashew apple) and the leaves are edible. Almost all parts of the cashew tree are reported to have ethnomedicinal properties.

Cashews, as you know them, are nuts. But the cashew nut is not the only fruit of the cashew trees. Or rather, the cashew nut is only a part of the cashew fruit.

The other part is called the cashew apple. (Although pear would suit it much better.) And if I wanted to be super accurate then I’d have to point out that the cashew apple is actually the swollen stem of the fruit.

Cashew  tree leaves are smooth with pronounced veins and midrib and possess petioles which are swollen at their base.

 

The cashew tree is native to tropical America, from Mexico and the West Indies to Brazil and Peru. It was introduced in India during the later half of the Sixteenth Century for the purpose of afforestation and soil conservation. From its humble beginning as a crop intended to check soil erosion, cashew has emerged as a major foreign exchange earner next only to tea and coffee.

Uses

The cashew tree is a multipurpose species, and cashew products have a wide range of uses. The kernel of the cashew nut, the pseudofruit (cashew apple) and the leaves are edible. Almost all parts of the cashew tree are reported to have ethnomedicinal properties (Morton, 1987).

  •  Cashew nuts (kernels). The kernels are a nutritious food as they contain large amounts of fats, protein, carbohydrates, vitamins and minerals.
  •  Cashew apples (pseudofruit) are too fragile to be suitable for transport and relished only in areas of production. They can be eaten fresh in salads, pressed to make juices, cooked in syrup or made into jams to preserve them.
  •  Cashew pulp is the residue of the separation of the nut from the pseudofruit, and cashew bagasse (cashew pomacecashew apple waste) is the residue of the juice extraction from the pseudofruit. Both products are suitable for livestock feeding. It should be noted that the term “cashew pulp” is ambiguous and sometimes used for the bagasse.
  •  Cashew nut oil meal, or cashew nut oil cake, is the residue of the oil extraction from kernels. It is suitable for livestock feeding.
  •  Cashew nut testa are the red skins that are manually or mechanically removed in the final step of preparing cashew nuts for confectionery. These skins may contain pieces of broken kernels and can be used as feed.
  •  Cashew tree leaves can be cut and eaten fresh or cooked.
  •  Cashew tree timber provides good firewood and can make valuable charcoal. The nut shells can be burnt to produce heat to be used in the processing of Cashew Nut Shell Liquid.
  •  Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL), also known as cashew shell oil is  used for epoxy resins, varnishes, and many high-tech materials that can withstand high temperatures, such as brake linings . CNSL is also used as a pesticide against termites in timber, and the bark gum is repellent to insects.


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