Slice of Life Nutty Nerds

1280px-Cashew_apples

Have you any idea what the dangling fruit here is?

Can you believe that the largest of these trees covers  8,400 square metres (2.1 acres)!

Maior_Cajueiro_do_Mundo_2011

Is that amazing? It’s huge!

Last Thursday, my husband and I ventured out on the highway to visit our grandchildren who live over the Cascade Mountains on the west side of Washington State. It’s about a four hour drive, depending on weather and traffic patterns.

It is a beautiful drive over the mountains, and we spend the time talking or listening to music, podcasts, or books — sometimes listening and discussing the audio ideas together, and sometimes sharing what each has learned.

As I enjoyed the passing blooming orchards around Wenatchee, I opened a can of mixed nuts to munch on. I shook the can so the brazil nuts and almonds sorted themselves out onto the top. I’m lucky; those are my favorite. Thank physics for that sorting by shaking:

The primary mechanisms at work in the Brazil Nut Effect are percolation—in which small grains migrate down to the bottom of the pile between larger grains—and convection, in which larger grains push up toward the top of the pile.

The Brazil Nut Effect Is More Complicated Than You Think

But as I stared into that can of nuts, I asked Scott, “Have you ever cracked a cashew nut?”

We both thought about that– we’ve purchased nuts in the shell many times– almonds, walnuts, pecans, brazil nuts, peanuts, hazelnuts. We could picture the many types of shells for these nuts, but not cashews.

Why not? Well, as nutty nerds who often stop an historical movie to Google the history of the era we’re watching, we googled, cashew.

And that top photo is the fruit of the cashew tree. You see the cashew nut dangling from the bottom of and outside the cashew apple. The yellow apple part has such delicate skin that it can’t be transported. And the dark shell of the nut causes some people to break out with dermatitis.  That’s why we never see cashews in the shell!

Its English name derives from the Portuguese name for the fruit of the cashew tree caju (Portuguese pronunciation: [kaˈʒu]), which itself is derived from the Tupian word acajú, literally meaning “nut that produces itself”.[1] The generic name Anacardium, originally from the Greek, refers to the unusual location of the seed outside the core or heart of the fruit (ana- means “again” or “backward” and -cardium means “heart”).

Cashew in Wikipedia

View more of the largest cashew tree here, at Wikipedia; it is found in Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil). Brazil is the native origin of the cashew nut.

So, for fun, share the picture of the cashew apple in your family chat. Ask them, “What is this?” My favorite guess from our family is “poisonous apples from the Evil Queen with enchanted magic mushrooms in them.”

No one knew, but now they do!

Next time you crunch a cashew, you’ll be able to share your new knowledge.

Enjoy!

~~~~~~~~~~~

Cashew Photo: CC BY-SA 3.0 by Abhishek JacobOwn work Cashew Apples

Cashew Tree Photo: CC BY 2.0 by Mateussf -Maior Cajueiro do Mundo 2011

Biggest Cashew-tree in the world, located in Parnamirim, Rio Grande do Norte (Brazil)

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