The fruit and nut case of cashew. The cashew or (kazu) tree which you will see in many parts of Goa, particularly in Bardez, Bicholim and Satari talukas, produce the 'apple' which turns yellow or red when ripe and is then harvested between March and June. The tree, which is one of the principal and dependable 'plantation crops', is often not formally planted in separate orchards, but grows productively without much attention of fertilizers or irrigation. Cashew was introduced by the Portuguese in the early days of Colonization, principally to conserve soil, but later better varieties were introduced (including those from South America) which would yield high quality nut.

The cashew nut, which is enjoyed all around the world, is obtained from roasting the lower part of the fruit in large wood-fired kilns until charred, and then painstakingly cracked open (often by village women) to reveal the pale nut. The dried nut is sometimes roasted and salted before packing. The charred nut-case produces a valued waterproof 'paint' which is used to seal wooden boats.

The "apple" takes a different route. Traditionally, the juice was squeezed out by сrushing the fruit under foot in the village bhati (distillery) in the same way as grapes are treated in traditional wineries, but now there are modern distilleries. The juice is then strained to produce a delicious sweet drink niro, which needs to be kept cool to avoid fermenting. However, most of the juice extracted is allowed to ferment for 15 days; this is then boiled in large earthen pots and distilled to first yield the low alcohol urak. Further distillates produce the stronger cashew feni...

Crude cashew

I have tried the crude cashew - it was a real horror! Such an awesome bitterness!

crude cashew