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Cashew Nuts & Brazil Nuts from Brazil

March 16, 2018
World's largest cashew tree in Natal

Culinary Souvenir: Cashew nuts & Brazil nuts from Brazil

Whether as a power snack in between meals or a healthy snack for sociable evenings, cashew nuts and Brazil nuts are extremely popular in Europe and are therefore now available in most supermarkets. However, very few people know that these nut varieties originally come from Brazil. On your trip to Brazil, you can not only enjoy the white kernels almost everywhere, but you can even visit the world's largest cashew tree, which occupies an incredible 8,500 square meters.

Of cashew trees and cashew apples

With the keyword "Cashew tree" the first hint is already delivered. Cashews grow on trees, but this is not a specialty. The really curious thing about it is the fruit that grows on the cashew tree: The fruit consists of the reddish-yellow cashew apple and the cashew kernel hanging down from it. The cashew kernel is the seed of the cashew apple and is not, as is normally the case, inside the fruit, but grows outside.

The sweet-tasting cashew apple is often processed into juice or jam or is harvested and eaten directly. The cashew apple may only be tasted in the countries where the cashew tree is cultivated, as the fruit spoils quickly and is therefore not exported. However, the roasted seeds of the cashew apple are very well known to us and the trade with the seeds plays an important role in the Brazilian economy. Besides Brazil, India, and some regions in Africa are important cashew tree-growing areas. But it should be said that the trees were only introduced to these areas by the Portuguese in the 16th century and the cashew tree is originally a Brazilian plant.

The largest occurrences will be found mainly in the northeast of Brazil. The states of Ceara, Piaui and Rio Grande do Norte are especially famous for the production of cashew nuts and you will be able to buy them at every street corner. So if you are planning to travel to nearby states after a vacation in beautiful Jericoacoara, you will find it hard to resist offers of cashew nuts!

If your onward journey takes you to the neighboring state of Rio Grande do Norte, you have the opportunity to visit the world's largest cashew tree, which even made it into the Guinness Book of Records. The tree has become a real tourist attraction and you can admire its size from a small viewing platform. That a cashew tree has an area of 8,500 square meters is of course the exception and is due to the unusual growth of this specimen. While the branches of the trees normally grow upwards, in this tree they form to the sides and after some time, due to the heaviness of their weight, lean towards the ground. As soon as the branches are in contact with the ground, they take root and serve as a new trunk on which numerous branches grow again. Thus, the spread of the tree is a continuous process and only the paved roads, which are next to the special plant, prevent the record tree from taking up even more space.

Also from Brazil: Brazil nuts

In addition to cashew nuts, you will find other delicacies in your trail mix that originated in tropical regions. The Brazil nut, for example. Brazil nut trees grow in the Amazon region. Since Brazil occupies large parts of the Amazon region, the locals here are at the "Brazil nut source". The jungle giants can reach a height of up to 50 meters, which is why harvesting the nuts requires a lot of patience. Due to the height of the tree, it is not possible to pick the coconut-like fruit directly from the tree. It is necessary to wait until the nuts themselves fall from the tree. Here caution is naturally required, because a fruit falling from fifty meters, which weighs depending upon contents up to two kilograms, can become quite dangerous. As already mentioned, the Brazil nut can be thought of like a coconut, which contains between ten and twenty-five kernels. First of all, the outer hard shell must be broken open to get to the kernels. Each nut is protected by another shell, which must be cracked. At home, you can use a nutcracker for this purpose, but in the jungle, the machete is usually used. If you have mastered this hurdle, you can now finally test whether all the effort was worth it and the white Brazil nut, surrounded by a thin brownish skin, can be eaten by you.

Even though Brazil occupies most of the Amazon region, it is only the second-largest producer of Brazil nuts. The world market leader in the export of healthy nuts is currently Bolivia and popular buyers of the product are mainly American and European customers.

During a stay in Manaus and the possible onward journey to Belem, you will find the Brazil nuts mainly on the lively markets. Whether still wrapped in their shells or already cracked open ready for consumption. The Brazil nuts are presented here in all variations and you should not miss trying the fresh jungle products. Other cities on whose street markets you can buy fresh Brazil nuts are guaranteed:

  • Jericoacoara
  • Teresina
  • Natal

Whether Brazil nuts or cashew nuts, there is plenty of "nut enjoyment" during your Brazil vacation, and nowhere will you find fresher goods than on Amazon markets or at the stands in the northeast of Brazil. Bom apetite!

Source: www.estadao.com.br

Source: Aventura do Brasil