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Are Cashews Nuts?

By Momfashionlifestyle @Fashnlifestyle

Cashews are a widely popular snack and ingredient in various culinary preparations. However, when it comes to categorizing them, there is often confusion about whether cashews are nuts or not. In this comprehensive guide, we will delve into the world of cashews, exploring their botanical classification, nutritional profile, culinary uses, and addressing the question: Are cashews nuts?
Botanical Classification of Cashews:
Cashews, scientifically known as Anacardium occidentale, belong to the family Anacardiaceae. While they are commonly referred to as nuts, they are not technically classified as true nuts. Instead, they are considered as seeds or drupes. A drupe is a fruit with an outer fleshy part surrounding a hard shell that contains the seed. In the case of cashews, the cashew apple is the fleshy part, and the cashew nut is the seed within the shell.
Cashew Nut Anatomy:
To understand why cashews are not true nuts, it is essential to explore their anatomy. Cashew nuts develop at the bottom of the cashew apple, which is a pear-shaped fruit. The cashew apple is edible but is not as commonly consumed as the nut. Attached to the bottom of the cashew apple, you will find the cashew nut. The cashew nut consists of two distinct parts: the kernel and the shell. The kernel is the edible part that we commonly consume, while the shell is the hard outer covering that protects the kernel.
Nutritional Profile of Cashews:
Cashews are a nutrient-dense food and offer various health benefits. They are a rich source of vitamins, minerals, and healthy fats. Here is a breakdown of the nutritional profile of cashews per 1 ounce (28 grams) serving:
•Calories: 157
•Total Fat: 12 grams
•Saturated Fat: 2 grams
•Monounsaturated Fat: 8 grams
•Polyunsaturated Fat: 2 grams
•Carbohydrates: 9 grams
•Fiber: 1 gram
•Protein: 5 grams
•Vitamin E: 1% of the Daily Value (DV)
•Thiamin: 10% of the DV
•Vitamin K: 9% of the DV
•Copper: 29% of the DV
•Magnesium: 20% of the DV
•Phosphorus: 13% of the DV
•Zinc: 15% of the DV
Culinary Uses of Cashews:
Cashews are highly versatile in the culinary world and are used in a variety of dishes. Here are some common culinary uses of cashews:
Snacking: Roasted or salted cashews make for a delicious and nutritious snack.
Baking: Cashews can be incorporated into baked goods such as cookies, cakes, and bread.
Vegan Cooking: Cashews are commonly used to make dairy-free alternatives like cashew milk, cashew cream, and vegan cheese.
Asian Cuisine: Cashews are often included in Asian dishes, such as stir-fries, curries, and noodle dishes, adding a creamy texture and nutty flavor.
Nut Butter: Cashew butter is a popular alternative to peanut butter, offering a creamy and slightly sweet taste.
Are Cashews Nuts?
While cashews are commonly referred to as nuts, they do not fall under the botanical classification of true nuts. True nuts, such as almonds, walnuts, and pecans, are dry fruits with a hard shell that does not split open to release the seed. In contrast, cashews are seeds that develop within the shell of a drupe, the cashew apple. Therefore, botanically speaking, cashews are not nuts.
In conclusion, cashews are not true nuts but are seeds or drupes. However, they are widely considered and referred to as nuts due to their culinary usage and similar characteristics to nuts. Regardless of their botanical classification, cashews are a delicious and nutritious addition to a balanced diet, offering a range of health benefits and culinary versatility. So, whether you enjoy them as a snack, in cooking, or as a dairy-free alternative, cashews can be enjoyed for their unique taste and nutritional value.
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