- Food and Cooking
The Amazing Heart Healthy Cashew Nut
Get Nutty with Cashews
Cashews are one of nature's super heart healthy foods for many reasons. Full of good fats and essential minerals like magnesium, manganese and phosphorous, the cashew actually has a lower fat content than many other nuts. In fact, research has shown that people who eat a small portion of nuts such as cashews at least 4 times a week have lower incidences of heart disease and other health problems.
What's a Cashew?
Cashews are seeds that are attached to the bottom of the cashew apple, which is the fruit of the cashew tree. The pear-shaped yellowish fruit has a kidney shaped seed pod containing the cashew nut hanging from the bottom. To get to the good stuff, the outer shell full of a resin favored by industrial manufacturing must be removed first.
Native to northeastern Brazil, this nut's name comes from the Portuguese word 'caju.' It is popular in many countries around the world, and is commonly called maranon in Spanish. It also has multiple uses in Thai, Indian and Malay cuisine, and is often made into desserts.
In the Phillipines, cashew nut milk candy is made by mixing cashews with condensed milk, sugar, and lemon extract. It is also ground up and sprinkled as a topping for layer cakes and frozen desserts.
This nut can also be fermented and distilled to make alcohol, but perhaps the best, and easiest way to drink it is by making cashew milk. Like many plant or nut milks, cashews can be blended with water and flavor to make a delicious creamy drink. Fans of cashew milk will even save the cashew 'cream' which forms on the top after blending and refrigeration.
If you would like to try this delicious drink, follow the recipe below:
1 cup of raw cashews (not roasted or salted.)
2-4 cups water
Agave nectar or organic honey
Pinch of sea salt
*Use less water for a thicker nut beverage and more for thinner consistency.
Soak the nuts for up to 24 hours, then drain and rinse again before putting into the blender.
Place all the ingredients in a blender or food processor and process on the highest setting until the mixture is smooth.
Pour the blended mixture through a cheesecloth or other fine mesh material to remove any remaining nut particles. Gently squeeze to get out all of the liquid.
Pour into a resealable container and refrigerate. Scrape off and save any cream that forms on the top. This 'cream' can be used as a substitute for dairy cream in many cases.
Next time you are at the supermarket or farmer's market, be sure to look for the raw bulk nuts and buy a bag or two. Having some healthy cashews around is good for the body and even better for the taste buds!
Raw cashews can go bad just like any other fresh food. Look for smooth, dry nuts with a natural nutty smell. Nuts that have turned will smell rancid, may be shriveled and are not safe to eat. Never buy cashews if there appears to be moisture, mold or insects in the container.
If you are having trouble finding good, raw cashews, try these all natural cashews from the Bergin Nut Company. Included are two 16 ounce bags of fresh raw cashews.
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