Few months ago, my son’s friend and his wife visited us. They are from North Karnataka. When they saw cashew trees and fruits, they were very amused. They said they had never seen it before and didn’t know where cashew grew. So I decided to write this post here. These trees are very common at our place.

Cashew(Anacardium occidentale) is called kaju in Konkani, geru hannu(fruit)/geru beeja(nut)/godambi in Kannada. Cashew grows in the tropical climate.

At our place, we have local variety and hybrid variety of cashews. The local variety trees grow very tall and live for a long time. But the yield is very low. Hybrid trees are very small and live 5-10 years, seeds are larger, yield is more and fetches more revenue. These hybrid varieties need more manure and insecticides. The taste of the fruit is almost same in both varieties.

The plants usually give fruits in summer. We find two colors of cashew fruit – red and yellow. The cashew nut is attached to the bottom of the fruit. As far as I know, this is the only fruit where the seed is outside the fruit. The fruit has a very strong aroma – many people don’t like this because of the strong smell. This can be consumed when it gets ripe. The fruit is usually consumed fresh. When eaten as it is, sometimes it causes itching in the throat. So people usually eat it with a little salt. This fruit is used in some dishes and also juice is made out of it. Because we do not like it’s strong smell, we do not cook it at home.

The ripe fruits are used in gas plants, that is used to make cooking gas. Our neighbors have gobar gas plant where they use these fruits abundantly in summer. In Goa, these fruits are used to make Fenny – an alcoholic drink.

When the fruits get ripe, they are removed from the tree and seeds are separated from them. These seeds are sundried atleast for 3 days and stored. These seeds are taken to factory where they are cut open and inner nut is removed. The outer shell of the seed has a very strong oil and creates blisters on the skin if touched. This is used to give a coating on the boats/house roof as insecticide. The inner nut is the one available readily in the market with or without a reddish skin. The one with the skin remains good for a long time.

In earlier days, we used to burn these seeds in fire, cut open them at home and with inner nuts make laddoos for Gokulashtami and Ganesh Chauti festivals. These laddoos have a very distinct aroma.

Another seasonal delicacy is tender cashew nuts. The tender seeds are cut open and nuts are sold. These tender nuts called bibbe in Konkani are loved by all. These are used in many dishes after removing the outer skin. These can also be consumed as it is after removing skin, they have a very distinct taste.

21 thoughts on “Cashew”

  1. Mamama’s house had 13 cashew trees. Enjoyed every moment of our vacation at Grandparents place, with so many fruit trees around. Still remember burning these seeds, opening them and popping in the mouth. Nice post Varadpachi.

  2. Pratibha Prabhu

    I learnt something today. I have never seen a cashewnut plant. Nice post…. very informative.

  3. Good morning Varada Pachhi,

    Enjoyed this posting Pachhi as bibbo are one of our favorite delicacies! are u still here with Shilpa? incidentally, just for your information, strawberries too have seeds on the outside of the fruit !

  4. I so miss the tender cashews 🙁 Aai makes an awesome curry with those and I have been wanting to eat that since over a decade 🙁

  5. My father’s ancestral place is in Kumta and when I was a child , I used to visit every summer…This post brings back memories where we used to collect the mature seeds and roasted them over an open flame and then waited impatiently for the cashews to cool ! Wonderful post .

  6. Nice post, did you know that Cashew (cajú in Portuguese) are native to Brazil? There is a State is Brazil named after the equivaletn Spanish name of cashew – Maranhão or marañón
    The Portuguese brought it to South Indian – Goa I believe and rest is history…Indians were much more creative with the use of Cashews in their cooking. I love cashews. Last January on a visit to Brazil I accidentally touched the tip of my nose while trying to remove the skin from a nut and guess what? My skin got burned! It took weeks to heal 🙂

  7. Oh! How much I miss these tender cashews….. I loved the preps where this was an ingredient like the thondekaayi gerubeeja pallya prepared for vishu, the geru beeja payasa….. Hmmm…. Lip smacking… I am just drooling over the taste my taste buds are slurping at….. 😉 U just made my day by posting about them…. God Bless u!!!!


  8. very informative.. we bought a lot of kajus in Goa. My friend always says how there are many cashew trees in the gardens of relatives back in Kerala.. To me, though cashew wud always be an item sold salted in packets at malls 🙂 such is the difference of growing up where you do!

  9. sabitha shenoy

    Very nice post. It reminded me of my childhood days. We used to pluck cashew fruits(kaaju) and used to cut them, sprinkle some salt, pepper and sugar. It tastes very good. We also used to prepare juice from this by adding ginger, salt, sugar and pepper. After drinking we used to sweat a lot. It generates heat in the body. The drink is very tasty if it is consumed immediately after the preparation. I never knew it is used in gas plants!

  10. Tender cashew nuts reminds me of my childhood in Central Travencore region of Kerala. They were great favourites of us kids. Cutting open the raw nut is an expert job as you have to avoid contact with the sap, Usually, the nut is held by the stem or what would have developed into the fruit, if left alone. Old cloth is used to hold the tenger fruit and the fruit is cut open. The tender nut is pried out into the water drained from rice after cooking. We used to love to eat them as it is, but of course not permitted often. It can be fried like meat with the same masala. Curry with coconut milk was also very popular.

  11. We love this yellow fruit. I would like to make curry from this fruit. Good information with picture. Thanks.

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