Four centuries ago, the adventurous Portuguese came sailing down the Indian coasts and brought with them the priceless tree nut - "Cashew", the wonder nut of the world. Cashew came, conquered and took deep roots in the entire coastal region of India. Cashew found the Indian soil more homely than its homeland. Later it spread as a popular crop to other parts of India. Cashew cultivation now covers a total area of 0.70 million hectares of land, producing over. 0.40 million M.T. of raw cashew nuts annually. By the end of the century India has targeted to achieve a production level of over 0.60 million M.T of raw cashew nuts.
Cashew tree is a short, stocky, low-spreading, evergreen tropical tree. It flowers once a year, between the months of November and January. The fruit ripens fully within 2 months. The nuttiest feature of Cashewnut is that it is attached to the lower portion of the cashew apple which looks like a fruit, but in reality it is the enlarged stem of the cashew tree. The Cashewnut can be seen sitting smugly under the soft belly of the cashew' apple. Together, it is one of the fascinating sights of nature.The Cashewnut seed has within itself a whole kernel and this delicate kernel is covered by a testa membrane and a thick outer shell which effectively protects the tasty kernel from the ravages of nature from the time of harvesting to processing.In its raw form, the cashew kernel is soft, white and meaty. When roasted it changes colour and taste. The cashew kernel turns from a creamy white into a golden hue and the mellow pulp becomes crisp. Salted, it appeals to the palate as the most delicious nut.
India was the first country to hit the world market with cashew kernels and it was she who pioneered cashew processing as an industry. India is the largest producer, processor and exporter of cashews in the world. The raw cashew nuts collected from the growing areas are moved to the factories for processing..