Anacardiaceae (Cashew family)

The cashew apple is botanically a pseudofruit in a complex process, is commonly sold as a snack after being roasted and salted. Seed kernels are also sold sugared or covered with chocolate.

The nuts are used whole or ground in Indian cuisine. They are often made into sauces for savory dishes. In Malaysia, the young leaves are eaten raw in salads.

Comments. Cashew nuts are rich in mono- and polyunsaturated fats and high in dietary minerals like iron, magnesium, phosphorous, and zinc. The cashew apple is a good source of vitamin C. The pseudofruit had been used by indigenous people of South America to produce a brown dye.

The anacardic acid extracted from the shell of the seed shows antibacterial properties. It was used by local tribes to cure sores on feet and hands and to treat tooth infections.

Description. Pineapple is an herbaceous terrestrial plant, 0.5-1.5 m (1.6-5 ft) tall, with very short reduced stem and narrow, elongated, fleshy leaves 60-180 cm (23.6-71 in) long, forming a rosette. Leaves are tipped with a spine and numerous recurved spines on the leaf margins. Varieties grown in plantations are usually spineless. Plants bloom after 18-24 months and die after fruiting. Tubular purple or reddish flowers emerge from an elongated stem, surrounded by bright red leaves and topped by a tuft of short leaves. Compound fruit oval or cone-shaped, 20-35 cm (8-14 in) long, with persistent tuft of stiff leaves on top and waxy yellow, yellow-orange, or yellowish-green rind with hexagonal units. Yellow or whitish flesh juicy, aromatic, subacid to very sweet, usually without seeds, although small hard brown seeds may be present.

Origin and Distribution. Probably native to southern Brazil and Paraguay. The pineapple was cultivated in all of tropical America long before the arrival of the Europeans. It was a staple food and an important part of ceremonies and religious rites. Columbus reportedly saw his first pineapple on the island of Guadeloupe in 1493 and brought fruits back to Europe. For centuries, European horticulturists struggled to grow pineapples in greenhouses. For a long time, the fruit remained a luxury food for the wealthy.

Spaniards and Portuguese introduced the pineapple to their Asian and African colonies early in the sixteenth century. It was introduced into Hawaii in 1813 and the first commercial plantation started there in 1900 by James Dole, soon followed by Del Monte.

Food uses. Pineapples are usually eaten fresh or added to fruit salads, used for juice production, or canned. They are made into sauces, fillings, desserts, and ice cream and cake topping. The juice is part of many mixed drinks and cocktails like the well-known pina colada. In tropical Asia, it is an important ingredient in curries and sweet-and-sour meat dishes. In the Philippines, the pulp is fermented and served as nata de pina. The young shoots are eaten as a vegetable in various tropical countries.

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