While I was in Tamil Nadu, India, an orchard with trees with bright red fruit caught my eye. I asked the driver about it and he screeched to a halt. I have always found that the people in Tamil Nadu are friendly and generous–to a fault. Remember the blog about the ‘Prince of the Pond’ in which a young man plucked a handful of lotus plants and water lilies for me, just because I stopped to admire them?
The driver asked me to walk with him into the orchard, where a group of people were harvesting the fruit from the trees. The welcomed me and showed me around, offering to click pictures of me in the orchard!! When they told me that there were cashew nut trees all around me, I yelled with excitement…..yes, the extraterrestrials heard it too….
The fruit that hangs from the tree is initially yellow and changes to a beautiful scarlet when ripe. The fruit is the cashew apple, used to make liquor. The seed or the cashew nut hangs outside it, below it. The nut or seed is enclosed in a toxic shell. The seed itself is the cashew nut, as we know it, which has vitamins, minerals and proteins in plenty.
It is one of the few naturally occurring foods that contains Beta-sitosterol, which can reduce cholesterol levels.
After going through the orchard, I was gifted half a sackful of the cashew apple and nut!!! When I politely declined, I was given a handful to carry with me. Yes, a few minutes away there were people in an Ashram meditating in a golden globe, who were nowhere near as friendly or enlightened as the people working tirelessly in the orchard. I’m sure they are closer to heaven than most of us…they give without calculations of a favour in return, to complete strangers who disturb their busy schedule , and smile and wave as the intruder leaves……
India is the third largest producer of cashew nuts in the world.
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