Pajuil | Cashew
Scientific Name: Anacardium occidentale
Common Name: Cashew Apple, Pajuil, Cashew Nut, Cayú, Nuez de la India, Anacardo, Merey, Cajú, Castaña de Cajú
Description: The Cashew Apple, known as "Pajuil" in some regions, is the swollen, pear-shaped fruit of the cashew tree. It is botanically not a true fruit but rather a pseudofruit or accessory fruit. The cashew apple has a thin, waxy skin that can range in color from yellow to red. The flesh is juicy and has a sweet, mildly tangy flavor.
Distribution: Cashew apples are native to northeastern Brazil but are now grown in many tropical regions around the world, including parts of Africa, India, Southeast Asia, and the Caribbean.
Habitat: The cashew tree thrives in tropical and subtropical climates. It is well adapted to regions with sandy, well-draining soils and is often found in coastal areas. The tree is known for its tolerance to drought and is commonly grown in regions with distinct wet and dry seasons.
Culinary Use: While the cashew nut is the more well-known part of the cashew tree, the cashew apple is also edible and is used in various culinary preparations. It is often eaten fresh, either on its own or added to fruit salads and beverages. In some regions, it is used to make refreshing juices, jams, and liqueurs.
Medicinal Use: In traditional medicine, various parts of the cashew tree, including the cashew apple, have been used for their potential health benefits. The fruit is believed to have antioxidant properties and is sometimes used in herbal remedies for various ailments.
Fun Fact: The cashew apple is not commonly found in supermarkets outside of tropical regions due to its delicate nature and short shelf life. However, in areas where cashew trees are cultivated, the cashew apple is a popular local fruit that is enjoyed for its unique taste and versatility in culinary applications. Additionally, the cashew nut, which is attached to the bottom of the cashew apple, is the seed from which cashew nuts are derived.