The land that we have bought is formerly part of a cashew nut plantation and within our plot of land we have around 100 bearing trees. It’s a big export for the island and a good source of income for the people during wet season as they can keep for up to 2 years. We are going to do our best to keep as many of the trees as possible so we needed to look at how to harvest them.
For some reason I was under the impression that cashew nuts grew under the ground, I have no idea why but I certainly didn’t expect to see them hanging from a tree on what looks like a pear. The trees continue to bear fruit all year round but the best time to harvest is during dry season.
Once ripe the cashew nut shell can be easily separated from the cashew apple, a simple twist and then the shell is free. This then needs to be dried in the sun for a couple of days, the nut remains inside the shell as it is surrounded by a toxic black liquid that can burn the skin.
The apple can then be mixed with sugar (as its slightly acidic) and made into a fruit juice or perhaps a cider, which is another project altogether.
Part II will cover the roasting and shelling of the cashews so stay tuned folks.