Thursday, June 23, 2011

Roasting Cashews - Costa Rican Style

Did you know that cashews actually grows on a fruit, one nut (it is actually a seed in the botanical sense) per fruit?

During our training we had the opportunity to visit other volunteers in Guanacaste and we were invited by a neighbor of theirs to harvest the cashew nuts (or marañon in Spanish) and then roast them over a fire to eat.  Roasting the nut helps to burn off the otherwise irritating toxin found on the shell (or "cascara") as well as give them a really excellent flavor after breaking the shell to extract the nut.

Harvesting the nuts took a reasonable amount of time since there is only one nut (seed) per fruit.  Cashews are just as expensive here as in the States and for good reason.  It gave me a real appreciation for what it takes for a jar of cashews to arrive in a jar in the grocery store in the States.

Anyway, here's a few pictures of us roasting and sharing some cashews with our fellow Peace Corps volunteer hosts and some of our new friends (their neighbors).

The toxins on the shell are flamable and it is necessary to roast the cashews for a long time before they are ready to eat.
One of our hosts helping us move the cashews around so they don't burn and to help stoke the fire so that the cashews roast more quickly.
Happily posing for a picture after we've eaten the fruits of our labor.  The cashews were harvested from the orchard of the gentleman seated in the middle. 

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