I am living in Panama, in a little housing development of 11 small houses, in a fenced compound. This compound has mature mango trees, several papaya and banana trees, lime trees, coconut palms and…two cashew trees. Here in Spanish, they are called marañon (pronounced ma-ran-nyon). Cashew trees are interesting. I am learning a lot.
Cashew trees bear cashew fruit, commonly referred to as apples, which are the STEM of the cashew nut. The nut grows on the bottom of the stem, which swells with liquid as the nut matures.It looks really pretty, like the tree is hung with red and yellow Christmas bells. The fruit drops from the tree, and can be collected and used for a variety of things. There is a great youtube video about how to process cashew fruit and nuts from a village in Belize: http://www.villageviewpost.com/2010/05/cashew-nuts-preparation-crooked-tree.html
I am apparently the only person in the complex who collects the fruit. I make wine. I twist off the nut, and squeeze the juice-filled fruit, strain it, sweeten it somewhat, add some ginger, and add yeast. It ferments for a few weeks, and I strain it multiple times to filter out sediment, and bottle it.
It’s pretty potent stuff…and it’s free.
Meanwhile, the nuts are drying in the sun (no pun intended). Next, I will roast the nuts I have been saving over an open fire (like the video shows). Then, I get to crack out the cashews, and see if I like them, too, as much as I like the wine!