You probably have eaten cashew nuts before, but might not have see the fruit from which this nut comes. It turns out, that cashew is one of the weirdest-looking fruits on the planet.
It’s a soft pinkish fruit with a nut growing inside a shell attached outside the fruit. As I understand, when it’s on the tree, it hangs with the nut at the bottom.
Cashew fruits are not exported outside Latin America, partly because they are very perishable, but probably also because they don’t really taste all that good, as I discovered. The meat of the fruit tasted rubbery and very tart. I know you can make juice out of them and the juice tastes tolerable once you add enough sugar – though I would still hesitate to say call it “good.” I am not sure why they even bother selling it as a fruit – maybe you are supposed to cook it somehow.
Having finished the fruit I decided to open the shell to extract the nut. I first tried cutting it with a knife, but that didn’t work. So, I had a brilliant idea to try to crack it with my teeth. No, I didn’t break my teeth, but it turned out that the shell was filled some kind of disgusting liquid that I got to taste despite my best attempts. (I had vaguely heard that you are not supposed to eat raw cashew nuts.) The liquid around the nut tasted extremely tart and bitter and my tongue and lips felt burnt for a a while even though I rinsed my mouth right away. As I later read, the cashew nut is surrounded by some liquid that contains nothing less than cyanide and is actually quite poisonous. The nuts must be treated in some special ways before they can be eaten.
Next day I noticed skin pealing off my fingers – not in any scary kind of way, but sort of like what happens when you are not careful with some of the household chemicals. I didn’t connect it with the fruit, but then two days later I ate another cashew (don’t ask why) and I got the same skin irritation. God knows what it’s doing to my stomach, so I think I am going to just throw away the other 3 fruits that came in the pack.