The Anacardium occidentale or the Cashew is considered to be the natives to the northern side of South America. However nowadays they are also found in several tropical areas.
The English name “Cashew” has been derived from the Portuguese name caju that has come from the Tupi-Indian word “acaju”.
In Spanish speaking countries of Latin America cashew is called maranon, whereas, in Venezuela cashew is known as mere. It is said that viz (the state of Maranhao in the northern part of Brazil) is one of the first areas, where this fruit was seen.
Cashew is considered to be a premier crop that originally belongs to Brazil and contributes a lot in the rural economy.
The tree establishes itself easily and by men, and animals may have increased its growing area even in pre-historic times. It is likely that Spanish sailors have taken the nut to Central American countries and certain that the Portuguese brought the cashew to their territories in the East Indies and Africa.
It may be assumed that cashew came to Goa, Portugals main settlement in the East Indies at a time, between 1560 and 1565.
It is believed that the Portuguese brought the cashew to India, between 1563 & 1578.
Presently people will find a number of companies that are engaged with cashew processing services, cashew packaging services and cashew export business. Gayathri Exports is one of such cashew nuts exporters.
After India it was introduced into South-Eastern Asia and, according to Agnoloni and Giuliani (1977), it arrived in Africa during the second half of the XVI century, first on the east coast and then on the west and lastly in the Islands.The cashew later spread to Australia and some parts of the North-American Continent. Finally, its present diffusion can be geographically located between 31 degree North latitude and 31 degree South latitude, both as the wild species and under cultivation.
Some make from the apples a beverage, though the fruit itself is scarcely edible, having an unripe flavour. At the base of the fruit hangs a sort of nut, with the shape of a kidney. As to the kernel therein, it is excellent to eat.