Nuts!

Hello friends.

I wanted to share what I see in the back yard….

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Who would have ever thought that I would think a cow was cute?!  But isn’t it though! It (i’m not sure if it’s a he or a she) looks very soft and it has those long ears….it almost makes you want to reach your hand out to see if it feels as soft as it looks….almost.…buuuut no.  I think I’ll pass.  After all, it IS a cow.

🙂  However, it’s nice to hear the kids excited voices rising over seeing this guy out of our window!

Recently we took a trip out for the day and ended up going to a nut factory.

NO!  Not those kind of nuts!  The ones we like to eat – cashews anyone?

I love cashews.  I love the shape, and the slightly sweet rich flavor….I was game for seeing how they are harvested.

First of all…did you know that cashew nuts grow on trees?  Here is a picture of a cashew tree that has some buds on it….

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And did you also know that the nut really isn’t a nut at all but is actually a seed?  Nuts by definition develop a hard wall around the seed.  (Think about the bag of nuts you get from the store during the holidays to crack at home).  The cashew nut (aka seed) doesn’t ever develop a hard shell.  Instead it has a lining that is filled with some nastiness that you don’t ever want to encounter.  Let’s just say it’s related to the poison ivy plant and leave it at that shall we?  The seed grows on whats called a false fruit.  It’s called a false fruit because fruit, by definition, has seeds inside, and the cashew seed grows on the outside.  So, in a nutshell (hehehe) we have a false fruit that grows a false nut….are you ready to see it??

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Weird!  The cashew apple is edible but fragile and perishes quickly.  So i’m sorry to say that most of you will never get the chance to try one.  We didn’t, although we might later.  We DID try the juice and I have to say no one fell in love with it…in my opinion we are getting the best part by eating the seed!

The harvesting part is pretty hard from what I understand.  In order to get rid of the caustic fluid from the seed lining there are a few steps involved in the processing of a cashew seed.  The fluid can be used in many applications such as making varnish, insecticide and paint.  The seed is soaked in water, roasted to discharge the oil, and then hand shelled.  This is done by hand because the shape and brittleness of the nut requires careful handling.

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The machine cracks the outside and the lady then picks the seed/nut out.

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The nuts are then dried again to remove any leftover parts of the seed coat before they are processed for flavor and packaged.

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At this facility they had a huge variety of nuts that you could sample and purchase.  My favorite was the Tom Yum flavor.  It was an amazing flavor with a little heat in it!

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If you’re interested in reading more you can get some good information from this article.

It didn’t take long to tour the facility but I sure learned a lot….and now I understand why buying cashews in the states is a little expensive 🙂

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