Eight hundred fifty pesos a kilo. Why I was not surprised?
The cashew fruit with seed removed is almost useless. Except for people and company who can turn it to valuable products like wine, juice and jams.
The fleshy fruit is juicy, predominantly astringent and a bit sweet. We used to sliced fruit to cubes and dip in salt to counter the astringent taste.
We were burning the seed and later gathering the broiled nut. The thick coat contains appreciable amount of oil that helps it burst to flame when put over ember. Doing so was forbidden because of the foul fume which tend to cause severe cold to native chickens. I have never confirmed its truthfulness until now.
Not sure if someone is extracting the oil for commercial purposes.
Going back where we started. Fruit is ultimately grown for its delicious nut. Other uses are bonuses that are often neglected. It rots quick, immediate processing or cold storage is a must.
It bears fruit once a year. According to DA Palawan Agriculture Chief, it needs continuous summer sunlight to flower. When the full bloom meets consecutive days rain, the fruit usually fail to manifest. The whole year waiting for harvest is gone to waste.
Mangoes can harvested twice a year because the flower can be induced. It cannot be done yet to cashew trees. I guess the inventor is not yet born.
Most farms are contracted by large buyers. Meaning, they pay long before season comes. Some Malaysian importers are getting unprocessed seeds.
Nuts are sold in two variants. Roasted and fried. We chose roasted. We are too afraid of commercial oil I guessed. Our childhood favorite was sadly missing. The broiled nut.
July 2018 update
We were given the chance to get back to the cashew capital. Longer four days stay.
I learned. They also prohibit the broiling of cashew nuts. It really is bad for chickens. The fumes make them sick. The shell fluid is toxic and causes skin burns. The locals are boiling or steaming them, then drying the seeds before extracting the nuts. They are using a simple tool called “kalukati” to cut it to halves. Modern tool allows nut whole nut extraction. I brought home kalukati as souvenir.
Marvin is the lead chocolate maker of Ben and Lyn Chocolate Inc. Has strong background in food research and development. Occasionally conducts training and lectures. Lecturer of Cocoa Foundation of the Philippines. Do coaching and consultancy services on his free time.