Our beloved grandfather, Poppy Sol, started this business in an open-air market. Three generations later, we’re still bringing smiles to our customers' faces.
— Mary C Guerrero April 6, 2009
“Oh my gosh! I just received these today and tore into them! They are the best I have ever eaten. I ordered an assortment of cashews. Love them all - I will be back!”
About CashewsCashews belong to the Anarcardiacaeae or cashew family. The English word 'cashew' is derived from the Portuguese 'caju'. The Latin American Spanish word for cashew- maranon- presumably originated from Maranho, Brazil, one of the first regions where the Spanish observed cashews.
The cashew tree is a hardy, fast-growing, evergreen perennial with a symmetrical, umbrella like canopy. If growing under favorable conditions it can reach heights of forty to fifty feet. Under less favorable conditions, in the poor soils and marginal locations, which it is usually found, the cashew is much smaller. The stems of the tree tend to be gnarled and tortuous and branches are crooked. This gives the tree a decidedly unkempt appearance. The lower branches frequently rest on the ground and strike root, thereby enhancing the spreading form. The leathery leaves, four to eight inches long and two to three inches in width, are heavily veined. The aromatic five petaled flowers are yellowish pink.
Cashew trees flourish in the extreme heat of the tropics. During the past four centuries they have been extensively planted in warm regions throughout the world. They are easily cultivated, vigorous, drought-resistant and require little care. The trees may live for thirty to forty years.
The cashews most likely originated in northeastern Brazil near the equator. In 1558, A. Thevet, a French naturalist visited the territory of Maranhao in northern Brazil and provided the earliest known published illustration of the cashew. It is likely that Spanish sailors introduced the cashew to Panama and Central America in the sixteenth century.
The cashew is peculiar and versatile: It produces not only an edible nut but also a nutritive, edible 'apple' and valuable nut shell oil. The cashew fruit consists of two distinct parts: The first part is the fleshy, pear-shaped stalk, known as the cashew apple which is juicy, thick-skinned, brilliant yellow, red, or scarlet color, and about two to four and one-half inches in length. The cashew fruit actually looks more like a pear than an apple and in many regions of Brazil the cashew apple is referred to as the 'pera.' The second is the grayish-brown, kidney-shaped nut which is about one to one and one-half inches long. It is attached to the lower end of the apple. Cashew nuts are the true fruit, while the cashew apple, about eight to ten times as heavy as the nut, is the swollen stalk, or peduncle, which supports the flower.
The nut shell is smooth, oily and about one-eighth of an inch thick. Its honeycombed, cellular, inner portion contains the cashew nut. The cashew nut kernel is approximately seven-eighths of an inch in length, and is wrapped in a testa or thin brown skin. This is the cashew nut of commerce. The nut shell with its side indentation pointed upward, looks like a heart. The generic name Anacardium means 'shaped like a heart.'
Cashew trees start bearing fruit usually in the third or fourth year and under favorable conditions reach maximum production in about seven years. Although yields vary considerably, a fair, average annual yield from a mature cashew tree is about one hundred to one hundred-fifty pounds of apples and nuts from which twenty pounds of un-hulled nuts and six pounds of kernels can be obtained.
Cashew nuts have been called the poor man's crop but a rich man's food. The World Bank has estimated that at least 97% of world cashew production comes from wild growth and small peasant holdings. At most, systematically planned plantations supply 3%.
The flowering of the cashew tree lasts for two to three months and the fruit matures about two months later. The nut develops first from the cashew flower, while the apple swells later between the nut and the stem. After harvesting, the ripe cashew apple will only keep fresh for about twenty four hours. The nuts however, can be kept for a year or longer if dried.
The nuts should be dried immediately after being harvested. Sun dryings is often carried out on bamboo mats, palm leaves, or specially prepared floors meant for drying. The nuts should be constantly turned and dried for several days until they rattle in the shell.
After drying, cashew kernels are the graded by quality, size and color. Grading of the cashew kernels is carried out in accordance with internationally recognized standards based on size and color. Other cashew classifications include scorched kernels and dessert kernels( the lowest quality). These types are then divided into whole or broken grades and separated into subgroups according to size.
Approximately 60% of cashew kernels are consumed as salted nuts. High priced cashews represent essentially a luxury product for high income groups. In the snack market, cashews must compete with lower priced peanuts as well as chips, crisps, popcorn and other confectionary items. Cashews are more widely used in confectionery nut candies and chocolate bars than in bakery products. Cashews have become one of the most popular dessert nuts behind almonds. They are delicious in their natural state, or in a variety of candied varieties including chocolate covered and honey roasted cashews.
We also carry wholesale cashews.