The cashew tree, ANACARDIUM OCCIDENTALE, has a long standing history as an extremely useful tree. Both in terms of nutrition, as well as a food taste enhancer. Considered to be a native to the northern part of South America, it is now found in many tropical areas.
The English name ‘Cashew’ is derived from the Portugese name ‘Caju’, its called ‘Acaju’ in Brazil, ‘Merey’ in Venenzuala, ‘Cajuil’ in Spanish and ‘Decajou’ in French.
Cashew was introduced to India by the Portugese between 1563 and 1570. The Portugese bought Cashew first to Goa and then spread this nutritional tree nut across the western region of India, and then further to South East Asia.
A Portugese missionary from Brazil brought the Cashew to Goa in order to stop soil erosion along with the west coast of India.
It is said, that the edible value of the Cashew nut was discovered by Goan prisoners exiled to the Portugese territory of Africa (Mozambique) during Goa ‘s freedom movement in 1752. The prisoners tried them,
and used them as a regular food item. Thus, the cashew nut become a part and parcel of Goan life. The local people of Goa started consuming Cashewnuts by the middle of the 18th century and now, it commercially ranks second to Almond. And figures among the nine important tree nuts in trade the world over.