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#490922 05/15/14 05:15 PM
Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

How To Harvest Cashew Nuts to Dry and Remove Poison

The kids harvest Cashew fruit and Cashew nuts from the Cashew tree.

They explain what they are doing with the Cashews and why. They show how to remove the seed or Cashew Nut from the fruit. After they remove the seed, they gather them together in one place.

The kids will dry the Cashew seed to process later into the Cashew Nut to eat or make things with. Some of the things you can make with the Cashew is Cashew Butter, Cashew Chicken, Cashew Milk etc.

The Cashew is unique in that the single seed grows externally to the fruit.

Please note: The Cashew tree contains an oil closely related to Urushiol - the irritating toxin in Poison Oak and Poison Ivy.

The cashew fruit will be used to make a delicious Cashew Apple Crisp or "Cashew Crumble".

Belize Celebrates the Noble Cashew

Crooked Tree Village's annual Cashew festival and Agricultural Show, which took place this week (May 16 - 19) reminded us of the long and fruitful (OK, pun intended) relationship between Belize and the cashew.

The festival celebrates all things cashew, and featured products such as that delightful cashew wine, as well as cakes, pies, pastries, syrups, vinegar and all sorts of other spinoffs.

Belizeans have enjoyed the cashew in its many forms for generations, and probably nowhere as much as Crooked Tree, where the industry is at the heart of the local economy.

For those of you who think cashews come in tins or jars, salted as an accompaniment to beer and television viewing, the sight of a cashew tree, Anacardium occidentale, in full bloom would be a revelation, as would the sight of the single curved nut at the bottom of the cashew fruit. Although the nuts are justly valued, it is the fruit that produces the many products such as jams and wine.

You get a real appreciation of cashew nut consumption when you see how much tree and fruit goes into supporting each nut. To yield one jar of nuts you'd go through quite a large pile of fruit, and a toxic sap with a skin irritant similar to poison ivory surrounds the nuts.

The shell of the cashew nut is also valuable, producing compounds that are used in industrial products such as lubricants, epoxies and paints, and other parts of the tree are used for traditional remedies for snake bites, fungal infections and other ailments.

Cashew trees are evergreens originally native to Brazil, but the tree is now cultivated in tropical regions worldwide, such as Vietnam, Nigeria, Indonesia, India, the Ivory Coast and other locales where it is an important export crop.

Here in Belize, the cashew is grown primarily for local consumption, and you'll notice the tree in many back and front yards around the country, with families and villages having their own recipes for various uses. The wine and liqueurs are something of an acquired taste, but once you get used to the unique flavour, it grows on you. It's not unusual to see older people sitting around enjoying a drop of their own home brews.

This was the 29th annual festival in Crooked Tree, which celebrates the blossoming of the trees, usually between March and June. When the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary was established and the Crooked Tree Lagoon protected, with fishing, logging and other practices banned, the villagers looked to other sources of income and the good old dependable cashew tree was there to help out.

The festival kicked off Friday, the 16th with Cashew Tree Pageant with 9-year-old Kiara Tillett selected as the Cashew Queen, followed by a weekend full of music, dancing and other activities.

A fine celebration for a lovely tree that has brought joy to millions around the world.

All Hail the Noble Cashew!

Chaa Creek blog

Joined: Oct 1999
Posts: 84,395
Marty Offline OP
OP Offline

The 2014 Crooked Tree Cashew Festival

The twenty-ninth annual cashew festival was held over the weekend in Crooked Tree under the theme, "Highlight our Magical Fruit, the Cashew." The village has been pushing to partner with the agricultural department, the B.T.B. and other public and private sector agencies to promote the economic viability of the cashew fruit and the industry. Duane Moody reports.

Duane Moody, Reporting

The village of Crooked Tree is, for some, considered isolated from the rest of the country and is accessed by a three-mile long causeway that during the rainy season is often times flooded. With the network of lagoons streams and ponds in the area, the village is an environmentally protected island within the Belize District. But every May, the village comes to life with the annual Crooked Tree Cashew Festival, drawing visitors from across the Jewel to experience village life in Crooked Tree.

Dean Tillett, Organizer, Crooked Tree Cashew Festival

Dean Tillett

"This is our twenty-ninth annual cashew festival and we are hoping to highlight just about anything about the cashew; the many diverse things that we can do locally with the cashew product including the nut and of course the fruit. We want to display a very diverse cashew festival this year in terms of all the innovative things that we can do with the cashew in promoting economic stability within our community."

In almost every yard, hanging upside down from the branches of the trees were the kidney-shaped fruits, with brown tops and yellow skins. For the villagers, the entire fruit is used: the tops are roasted and become the all time favorite cashew nuts, but the fruit itself is processed to make all kinds of condiments: from stew cashew and jams to cookies, buns and cakes. There was even fudge and cashew ice-cream for sampling and for purchase.

Verna Samuels

Verna Samuels, Bird's Eye View Jams and Jellies

"I have been observing the cashew products and the cashew crop and I noticed that everything has been going to waste and I decided that I was gonna make a difference and try to do them. So each year I try to use cashew in a different way. So that was my passion.� We have been making cashew products for a while now and we have now made a little bit of cashew vinegar, cashew jams, jellies, stew cashew, cashew cakes, cashew pie, cashew fudge and cashew buns.� So far I have to apologize cause you can only get them at our place, but I used to sell them at Brodie's, Save U and Romac's."

An all-time favorite at the festival is the cashew wine from Charlie's Wines from Belize River Valley area. For sale at the booth were aged wines.

Mister Charlie, Owner, Charlie's Wines

Mister Charlie

"I have about ten different wines on display and I am in the wine business about forty-one years, almost fifty years. I've won a lot of trophies right here in Crooked Tree, always the first prize. So far, I haven't seen nobody cut me down. I bring out a small variety of about ten or eleven different products, but I usually do thirty-six different fruit wine products.� I do still-purification; none of these wines pass through a purifier. I do not use purifier. I do it the old French way. It is made; it is taken out of the container and put into another container that sits there for a couple of years. I got wine up here fifteen years old. I got cashew wine here that you cannot buy; not even right now in Crooked Tree you cannot get cashew wine like that."

Also present at the festival were representatives from the Ministry of Natural Resources and Agriculture. The ministry along with the Belize Audubon Society and other environmental agencies have been partnering with the village to ensure sustainable development within the Crooked Tree Wildlife Sanctuary.

Clifford Martinez

Clifford Martinez, Belize District Agriculture Coordinator

"We work with several villages and one of the most important cluster of farmers come from the Crooked Tree area and so we thought that it was an opportunity to be here today at a very popular annual event to showcase some of our work. These works include on a ministry perspective, we have four units here. Today we have a research unit that does a lot of promotion of urban agricultural work. We have the cooperative unit that does more rebuilding, revamping and supporting cooperative movement. We have the Apicultural movement which comes from a strong representation presently from the Orange Walk Agriculture Department through Mister Magarito Leiva. So we are promoting honey production, bee-rearing, bee-capturing and in extreme cases, extermination of bees. And then we also have, somewhat more specific to the Belize Department. which is promoting livestock-rearing and production and also some small agricultural production."

The traditional event, which started back in 1985, has grown tremendously over the decades. While the cashew season is short-lived, residents exploit the fruit to the max. According to the festival's organizer, Dean Tillett, the festival is an income generator that assists with the sustainability of the village and implementation of development projects.

Dean Tillett

"The financial implications Duane is huge-not only for Crooked Tree, but for other neighboring communities and for Belize as an industry in itself. I think when we look at the cashew festival since its inception back in 1985, how much it has grown. Before the cashew festival, all that we used to know about the cashew is the nut and probably the cashew wine and maybe the stew cashew-there were three main products. Now I know as you look around the show ground, there is so many variety of things that people are doing now-so many innovative things that they are doing with the cashew. And that's one of the main things that the cashew festival is all about is promoting the innovative ways of using this fruit. As the theme of this year right says, "Highlighting our magical fruit, the Cashew." It is something that Crooked Tree, as a community, we strive from. Locally the villagers, even though it is a seasonal crop, it is one of the main breadwinners here within the community."

So whether it is a handful of the mouth-watering cashew nut, a glass of your favorite wine or a sumptuous treat, all made from the tart, but sweet cashew fruit; bear in mind that the season means so much more to Crooked Tree residents and is a part of our Belizean cultural heritage. Duane Moody for News Five.

Channel 5

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