Cashew fruit juice
When I was growing up and still in primary school, a club my Mother belonged to, Club Mater Medic, were having their anniversary celebration. As part of the celebration, they took their kids on an excursion to the Coca-cola bottling plant at 9th-mile corner, near Enugu, Nigeria. We went to Oghe cashew industry, also near Enugu and one other place I can’t readily remember.
The Oghe Cashew industry was for the processing of cashew nuts. The cashew plantation was most impressive. I was awestruck by the hundreds and hundreds of cashew trees all in one place. Then there was the unmistakable sweet floral bouquet of cashew fruits which hit my senses, leaving an indelible imprint on my brain. Nigeria is one of the highest producers of cashew in the world.
In as much as I don’t like eating cashew fruit or cashew apple as it is also called, that sweet smell is exquisite. Eating the cashew fruit can get messy, with the juice dripping down your chin, staining your clothes, sometimes giving you an itch and leaving a dry feeling in your mouth. My younger self learnt to stay well away from them. When handling cashew fruit you need to be careful because it is rich in tannins which will stain clothes, counter tops etc. The liquid from the raw seed we were told, was used in making ‘tribal marks’ or ‘beauty marks’ on the faces of young girls in times past. There is more tannin in the red than in the yellow fruit.
The juice, on the other hand, is an entire game changer, the smell is glorious. Squeezed and sweetened, then served on the rocks, it is delicately sweet and aromatic. The fruit on its own is tart and astringent hence the need to sweeten it. Cashew fruit has so many health benefits, it is packed with Vitamin C, fibre, some protein, numerous minerals and antioxidants. It can be made into fruit juice, jam, wine, syrup, candy, vinegar, liquor, chutney etc.
The cashew fruit is a pseudo-fruit and not a real fruit, it is the swollen stalk of the nut. The cashew nut grows out first on the tree with the fruit which has a thin skin, coming after it. When the fruit has ripened, it falls off the tree and it is highly perishable.
When my older kids were small, I’d buy buckets load of cashews whenever they were in season. I will juice it and they loved it. Don’t know why we stopped but the other day, those beautiful yellow, bright orange and red fruits which are in season now beckoned me and I answered.
I like using the small sized fruits which can go into my juice maker feeder tube without having to cut the fruits, that way I handle it less. The cashew fruit juice will separate in a matter of minutes, just stir and enjoy your drink.
If you don’t have a juicer, use a food processor or use the water in the recipe to grind your fruits in a blender. You can also use a wooden spoon to press it against a metal sieve which releases the juice.
I use different spices and aromatics to flavour my cashew juice, depending on what I have at hand. My favourite flavours are star anise and edible lavender seeds. With lavender, you will think there will be a floral overload but no they compliment each other perfectly. Use whatever flavouring you can get or experiment on new ones and if you do please let me know.
Possible flavourings for Cashew fruit juice:
ginger root dates (debino) citrus rind (orange rind) cardamom star anise lavendar seeds pimento seed mint (na'a na'a) cloves (kanunfari) Zobo syrup etc.
To use these spices, grind them with the cashew fruit before extracting the juice or you can infuse in either your hot sugar syrup or in hot water before adding to the juice.
To make Cashew fruit juice:
Cashew fruit flavouring sugar or simple sugar syrup Water
Wash cashew fruit very well. Twist and pull to remove the seeds.
Cut cashew fruit into cubes.
For juicer: Grind cashew and spice in your juicer, stir in sugar or syrup to the juice then dilute with cold water to taste.
For food processor: Grind cashew and spice, add some clean water to the ground fruit and strain through a cheesecloth or clean new white handkerchief, into a jug.
If using a blender: Put cashew and spice into your blender container, add some clean water. Grind very well. Strain through a cheesecloth or clean new white handkerchief, into a jug.
To strain your juice, place the cheesecloth or handkerchief over the mouth of the jug pushing to form a depression, and hold in place with a rubber band.
Pour in the blended mix and let the juice drain out. Remove the cheesecloth and squeeze out as much juice as you can.
Stir in sugar or syrup and mix well. Drink or store in the refrigerator
- If using zobo syrup, do not add any sweetener.
- If using dry dates, soak in water till it has softened then remove the seeds and use. Also, reduce the quantity of sweetener used.
- Cashews are highly perishable fruits especially if the nuts have been removed. If not juicing immediately, wash thoroughly, remove the seeds and store in the freezer.
Please leave a comment, we will like to know how much you enjoyed your Cashew fruit juice or if you have a contribution or suggestion. Follow on Instagram: @thepretendchefofficial, Twitter:@thepretendchef.
- Kunnu Aya, Tiger nut milk - The Pretend Chef - […] will also enjoy my Iced tea, Cashew juice, Virgin Pina Colada and Zobo drink. Do you have any comments,…
- Nigerian Sausage Roll - The Pretend Chef - […] a dip of ketchup or Cashew nut butter and a drink. Try my zobo, refreshing cucumber agua fresca, Cashew…