Nuts in the Trees

cashew and appleMexico has lots of lime trees, and thus limes aplenty for sale – but the kind of lemons we grew accustom to in the U.S. do not seem to be available – until now. Our casa in Puerto Escondido came with a lemon tree. A pleasant surprise. Fresh lemonade abounds these days; and is really tasty.

Casa Maria del Mar’s yard is small, but landscaped. With more than 30,000 native flowering plants in Mexico to choose from and our nearly total lack of knowledge about plants you can imagine our confusion when a tree on the side of our house started producing these things:

There is a year-round kaleidoscope of beauty and color offered by all the blossoming trees and plants here in Mexico – but this odd ball had stumped us – is it an apple with a growth or some kind of oddball ornamental plant?

One of our plant knowledgeable neighbors came by cashew treeyesterday and mentioned in passing that the tree and ‘fruit’ in question was in fact a cashew tree.

All we knew about cashews was when you have a can of mixed nuts; you have to watch that no one scores all the cashews. They are the prize – the coveted nut in the mix. Buy them alone and you pay dearly. That is all we knew.
With some help from Google we learned cashew trees produce not only a delicious nut but also an edible fruit, sometimes called an “apple.” There is an oil that can be extracted from the nut shell. The inner lining of the nut shell is poisonous.

But if cashews are harvested properly, the toxic lining should not affect the cashew nut. “Harvested properly”, ah-oh now where did I put my toxic material suite? We have not seen that since our last attempt to make chili seco out of doors.

As they say, ‘the birds often depict harvest time’. When the peck marks begin to appear in the “apple’ you know it is time to harvest. Our project for the day.

John Calypso lives in Veracruz, Mexico. Back in the 60s, he was a very hip guy living in Hollywood and rubbing shoulders with Beatles and Monkees. Read lots more in his blog, Viva Veracruz.

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