I'll never forget being a young child in Costa Rica traveling with my grandfather. I remember him signaling the bus driver to stop the bus. He jumped off for a few minutes and returned with a bagful of "semillas de marañon." This literally translates to seeds of the marañon. The marañon is an unusual fruit that is native to the coastal areas of Northeastern Brazil. Although the fruit can be eaten and its juice enjoyed, our topic of discussion today is the seeds of the fruit that protrudes strangely from the bottom of the cashew fruit.
Although for some time it was considered too high in carbs by the low-carb aristocrats, it is impossible to avoid the nutritional value of the cashew nuts. These kidney shaped, light colored seeds are delicate in flavor and slightly spongy in texture. The cashew nuts are a great source of monounsaturated fats, healthy for the heart. They are rich in healthy minerals like copper, magnesium, potassium, iron and zinc. Cashew nuts are also an excellent source of biotin and protein.
One third of a cup of cashews (about a handful) provides 260 calories, 21 grams of protein and 15 grams of carbohydrates. Keep in mind that this is a healthy source of fats, proteins and carbs. In fact this nut has a lower fat content, higher protein and carbohydrate content than most other nuts.
As are all nuts, cashew nuts are best eaten raw. Unfortunately, even though you may buy a package of cashews that says they are raw, it is highly unlikely. In order for the seeds to be removed from the pod they are exposed to steam heat. This procedure releases a foul tasting oil in the protective outer shell that is highly irritating to the skin. Nonetheless, if you buy the kind that say raw, at least they have not been exposed to the high heat involved with roasting, and much of the nutrient content of the seed is retained.
There is a raw food café in San Francisco that I occasionally visit. They use a cashew cream as a base for their salad dressings. By adding different ingredients, this cream can be made into a delicious salad dressing sure to please all tastes!