Marañón – Cashews

Summer in Panama is the time for cashews, both the nuts and the fruits. It’s really interesting to see how they grow!

Before living in Panama I didn’t know there is also fruit, usually called a cashew apple. It’s very delicate and doesn’t travel well which is why you only see it on the trees, not in the supermarkets. The locals here often make drinks out of it and believe it’s good for your health, especially for your stomach.

The nut itself is found on the end of the fruit. There is a toxic substance in the shell so the nuts have to be roasted. After roasting they are no longer toxic, and it’s possible to crack the shell to get the nut. No wonder cashew nuts are a bit expensive.

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About Kris Cunningham

We live in David, Chiriqui Provence, Republic of Panama! This blog is about some of our experiences in our new country.
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12 Responses to Marañón – Cashews

  1. Interesting, I never knew cashews grew like that.

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  2. Alex says:

    Yes, awesome fruit and great and tasty seed, marañón.
    http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Maior_cajueiro_do_mundo

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  3. Dave Rosenfled says:

    The Cashew Apple does make a pretty good juice. I had some for breakfast this morning.

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    • Really! Do you make the chicha in the blender, or is it straight juice? I’ve never tried just the juice. The fruits seem to have a lot so it shouldn’t be too hard to extract it.

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  4. Richard says:

    The drink is called “Chicha de Mariñon.” It’s made by putting the mariñon in a blender with ice cubes and sugar, then passed through a colander. It is sinfully delicious and cures everything that ales you, including your appetite! When the shells are roasted in open fire pit embers, they smell terrible! However, after the local children here in Cocle enjoy smashing them open, the delicious cashews are warm and inviting!

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    • It cures your appetite? Maybe I need to drink more! I’ve also heard the smoke of the roasting shells is dangerous especially if you have asthma or breathing problems. No one around here seems to roast them so I haven’t smelled it. Maybe one day I’ll have to try roasting them myself. There sure are enough of them here.
      Thanks for stopping by and leaving a comment 🙂

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      • Richard says:

        Indeed, roasting on an open fire is a regular summer pastime, much akin to Northern chestnuts (aka, the Christmas song). Roasting the nuts on an open fire is the only way to do it here in Cocle. Once the nut shells are fully roasted they can be cracked open and eaten. And, yes! You always place the fire pit so the smoke goes “downwind.” It’s sort of like putting them in the pit while you do your barbeque, although the food has to be wrapped in tin foil rather than open spit.

        There is one warning about the fruit, though! Don’t ever get it on your clothes! The red skin is a permanent stain!

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        • Thanks for the info! I’ll send it along to my friend who is curious about it. And thank for the warning about clothes. Banana juice doesn’t do very well on clothes either. Thankfully I have a collection of messed up clothes that I always wear at home because I’m always getting into something 😀

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  5. indacampo says:

    Mi amiga picks them from her tree and puts the apples in the juicer with her other fruit and veg. We’ve been talking a lot about them lately because we have two large trees in the field across the street and several friends have them in their yard. No one has been brave enough to try roasting them yet. 🙂

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    • Ahh, roasting the nuts! At first I thought roasting the fruits? That might be good but they have a lot of water in them. I heard somewhere about cashew farms in the interior, maybe in Cocle? Someone around has to know how to do it. That would be interesting!

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