National Cashew Day is celebrated every year on November 23 all around the United States. This kidney-shaped nut isn’t just loved in the United States, it is also popular around the globe. They have innumerable uses — snack on them, cook with them, and even get drunk off of them! Cashews are indeed elite nuts that deserve a day to celebrate them. National Cashew Day is that special day dedicated to enjoying the crunchy, savory, and versatile nut in many ways.
History of National Cashew Day
The name ‘cashew’ comes from the Portuguese for its fruit, ‘caju’ or ‘acaju,’ derived from the Tupian word ‘acajú,’ which means ‘nut that produces itself.’ Cashews, unlike other nuts, grow like tails out of the bottom of cashew apples. Their trees are generally huge, but Natal, Rio Grande do Norte, Brazil, is home to the world’s largest cashew tree, which covers more than 81,000 square feet, almost 70 times the size of a regular one! The outer covering of the cashew nut contains an anacardic acid that causes skin irritation, which is why when Europeans first discovered cashews in Brazil in 1558, they thought they were inedible.
The Tupi-Indians, a local native tribe, showed the Portuguese the value of the actual seed, which they had discovered while watching the local capuchin monkeys. They trained the Portuguese to roast the seeds to get the irritant off. Not only did they come to enjoy the taste of cashews, they even made wine out of its fruit’s pulp. The Portuguese were such fans of the nut that their missionaries brought cashews to Goa, India, in 1560. The Indian climate proved the perfect fit to plant them, and cashews took the country by storm. Indians even discovered healing properties within the nut, adding to its popularity. Cashews spread rapidly through Southeast Asia and Africa and became essential parts of their food and commerce. It wasn’t until 1905 that cashews reached the United States. They initially saw a slow spread, only becoming popular around the mid-1920s when the General Food Corporation began regularly shipping cashews to the U.S. and Europe. Once Americans got a taste of it, the demand for cashews spiked. By 1941, about 22,046.23 tons were imported from India annually.
Research has shown that these nuts are effective antidepressants. They are rich in minerals and vitamins and a perfect ingredient for soups, stews, desserts, especially in Latin American and Asian cuisine. Other parts of the main plant, including the fruit, oil, pulp, bark, are just as valuable.
National Cashew Day timeline
The Europeans discover cashews in Brazil.
The Portuguese bring cashew seeds to plant in Goa.
Cashews arrive in the United States.
Cashews become a hit overnight, with 22,046.23 tons imported each year.
National Cashew Day FAQs
Is it OK to eat cashews every day?
Cashews are highly nutritious. On average, it is OK to consume three to four cashew nuts daily.
Are cashews bad for your skin?
No, cashews contain several antioxidants, which are in fact good for your skin.
Do cashews cause weight gain?
Cashews, like most nuts, are high in calories and fat. If daily intake is adjusted according to weight goals, cashews can be consumed without gaining weight.
National Cashew Day Activities
What better way to celebrate National Cashew Day than by eating some cashews? You can have them roasted, or any way you please.
Cook with cashews
From savory to sweet, fried to baked, there are thousands of yummy cashew recipes, and you can even cook them into other dishes. Put on your chef cap and get cooking this National Cashew Day.
Swap with cashews
For your grocery run this week, swap out some of your staples to try out cashew-based alternatives. You can get cashew oil, cashew butter (like peanut butter), and so much more.
5 Interesting Facts About Cashews
They are America’s faves
The United States is responsible for the consumption of more than 90% of cashews produced globally!
They are born green
Cashews are green before their seed is roasted.
They can get you drunk
Fermented and distilled juice from cashew apples contains 40-42% alcohol known as ‘feni.’
They heal tummy aches
Traditional Mayan medicine makes tea from the leaves or bark of cashews that treats diarrhea.
An industrial nut
Cashew nuts are used to make industrial products like paint, brake liners, lubricants, waterproofing, and in World War II, they were even used for arms production.
Why We Love National Cashew Day
An abundance of health benefits
Cashews are packed with protein and essential vitamins and minerals such as calcium, iron, potassium, zinc, vitamin B1, vitamin B2, vitamin E, and so much more. They are rich in copper, which keeps the immune system healthy.
Plenty of ways to use them
Cashews are versatile nuts that have several uses. They can be snacked on, cooked with, or used to make butter and cheese.
They are yummy too
Cashews are delicious and are considered a premium quality snack. They are widely used in South and Southeast Asia and are an essential part of the cuisine in the south of India.
National Cashew Day dates