What is a cashew allergy
The cashew is technically not a nut; it is a seed harvested from the cashew apple, the fruit produced by cashew trees.
Unlike numerous other nuts and seeds, the cashew grows exterior the fruit instead of inside, within a kidney-shaped drupe that hangs at the finish of the cashew apple’s base.
This drupe is considered the ‘true’ fruit of the tree while the cashew apple is thought of as an accessory or ‘false’ fruit.
Contained within this ‘true’ fruit is a single seed—the cashew.
It is worthwhile adding that, while cashews are certainly the most renowned product of the cashew tree, the cashew apple is a delicacy in numerous countries, including my home country Brazil, and is used to make juices, jams, curries and an Indian liqueur called feni.
Where Do Cashews Come From?
Cashews are called caju in Brazil, maranon in some Spanish-speaking locations, and merey in Venezuela.
The original expression is acaju (meaning the ‘nut that produces itself’), which comes from the language of the Tupian people who live in northeast Brazil where cashew trees originate.
However, you can now discover cashews cultivated in numerous countries that enjoy tropical climates.
The cashew tree was first exported from Brazil to Goa, India by the Portuguese between 1560 and 1564.
As time evolved, the tree continued to extend its presence to both Southeast Asia and Africa where it is still grown today.
In the early 1970s, the majority of global cashew production (68 percent) happened in Africa, specifically Mozambique (a previous Portuguese colony) and Tanzania. Since then cashew production has shifted to Asian countries, with Vietnam being the largest exporter of cashews for the final 11 years.
Why Cashew Shells Are Poisonous
Raw cashews contain urushiol, a resin that is toxic if ingested and can cause rashes or burns if it contacts the skin.
To remove this substance, cashews must go through a rigorous roasting or steaming process to ensure they are safe to eat.
This is why you will always see cashews shelled at the grocery store.
Before that roasting process, however, cashews are a beautiful shade of green!
Cashews belong to the same family as mangos, poison ivy, and pistachios.
The harmful part of the cashew (which can also be found in mango plants) is the same ingredient that makes poison ivy poisonous.
Are Cashews Excellent for You?
Cashews are an excellent source of micronutrients, i.e. vitamins and minerals including copper, manganese, magnesium and phosphorous, vitamin K, iron, and zinc.
A 28-gram (1-oz) serving of dry roasted cashews provides 9 percent of the recommended daily worth of protein, but also 8 percent of the daily worth of calories.
As always, remember that nuts are high energy thick foods, so a little goes a endless way!
Cashews in the Kitchen
Cashews are well known for their wealthy buttery flavor and texture.
They are widely used in Asian cuisine and are an ingredient in numerous stir-fry dishes.
Cashews are increasingly favorite in the making of dairy replacements, such as cashew ‘butter’, cashew ‘milk’, cashew ‘cheese’, and cashew ‘ice cream.’
They are also an excellent ingredient for thickening sauces.
If you are looking for a grand cashew recipe, here is one of our favorites called Roasted Pear Crostini With Cashew Cream.
Enjoy and Happy National Cashew Day!
Allergic reactions to tree nuts
An allergic reaction generally happens within minutes after being exposed to an allergen, but sometimes it can take put several hours after exposure.
Anaphylaxis is the most serious type of allergic reaction.
Symptoms of anaphylaxis generally include two or more of the following body systems:
- Gastrointestinal (stomach): nausea, pain/cramps, vomiting, diarrhea
- Cardiovascular (heart): paler than normal skin colour/blue colour, feeble pulse, passing out, dizziness or lightheadedness, shock
- Skin: hives, swelling (face, lips, tongue), itching, warmth, redness
- Respiratory (breathing):coughing, wheezing, shortness of breath, chest pain/tightness, throat tightness, hoarse voice, nasal congestion or hay fever-like symptoms (runny itchy nose and watery eyes, sneezing), trouble swallowing
- Other:anxiety, sense of doom (the feeling that something bad is about to happen), headache, uterine cramps, metallic taste
If you own an allergy to tree nuts, hold an epinephrine auto-injector (e.g., EpiPen®) with you at every times.
Epinephrine is the first-line treatment for severe allergic reactions (anaphylaxis).
Note: The above lists are not finish and may change.
Emerging Allergen Reporting Tool
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- Peanuts are part of the legume family and are not considered a tree nut.
- Some people with a tree nut allergy may be allergic to more than one type of tree nut.
- Priority food allergens are the foods that cause the majority of allergic reactions.
- Tree nuts considered as priority allergens include almonds, Brazil nuts, cashews, hazelnuts, macadamia nuts, pecans, pine nuts (pignolias), pistachio nuts and walnuts.
- Tree nuts are considered priority allergens by Health Canada.
- People who are allergic to tree nuts generally avoid every nuts and peanuts because of the risk of cross contamination.
- A coconut is a seed of a fruit and nutmeg is obtained from the seeds of a tropical tree.
- Coconut and nutmeg are not considered tree nuts for the purposes of food allergen labelling in Canada and are not usually restricted from the diet of someone allergic to tree nuts.
- However, some people allergic to tree nuts own also reacted to coconut and nutmeg. Consult your allergist before trying coconut- or nutmeg-containing products.
Be Allergy-Aware: How to avoid tree nuts
- If a tree nut is part of the ingredients, the specific tree nut(s) must be declared by their common name (almond, Brazil nut, etc.) in the list of ingredients or in a separate “contains” statement immediately following the list of ingredients.
- Always carry your epinephrine auto-injector. It’s recommend that if you do not own your auto-injector with you, that you do not eat.
- Be careful when buying imported products, since labelling rules differ from country to country.
- Once when you get home and put it away.
- Check with manufacturers directly if you are not certain if a product is safe for you.
- Once at the store before buying it.
- Again before you serve or eat the product.
- Watch for cross-contamination, which is when a little quantity of a food allergen (e.g., almond) gets into another food accidentally, or when it’s present in saliva, on a surface, or on an object.
This little quantity of an allergen could cause an allergic reaction.
Common tree nuts
- Macadamia nuts
- Pine nuts (pinon, pignolias)
- Hazelnuts (filberts)
- Hickory nuts
- Brazil nuts
Other names for tree nuts
- Mandelonas (a nut-flavoured peanut confection)
- Nut meats
- Anacardium nuts
- Queensland nut (macadamia)
Possible sources of tree nuts
- Nut-flavoured coffees, boiling cocoa, specialty drinks
- Snack food love chips, popcorn, snack mixes, trail mix
- Hot cocoa and cocoa mixes
- Smoke flavourings
- Barbecue sauce
- Salads and salad dressings
- Ice cream, gelato, frozen desserts, sundae toppings, frozen yogurt, pralines
- Spreads and Nut butters (e.g., Nutella and gianduia/gianduja)
- Alcoholic beverages, such as Frangelico, amaretto liqueurs and others
- Health and Nutritional supplements, such as herbal remedies and vitamins
- Herbal teas
- Peanut oil
- Pesto sauce
- Natural flavourings and extracts
- Main course dishes such as butter chicken, chicken korma, mole sauce, pad thai, satay, chili, other gravy dishes
- Candies, such as calisson, mandelonas, marzipan, some chocolates, chocolate bars
- Cereals, granola, muesli
- Baked goods such as biscotti, cakes, cookies, crackers, donuts, granola bars, pastries and pies, baklava, baking mixes
- Vegetarian dishes
Non-food sources of tree nuts
- Massage oils
- Pet food
- Bird seed
- Cosmetics, skin and hair care products, lotions, soap, body scrubs, sun screens
- Beanbags, kick sacks/hacky sacks
- Sandblasting materials
Report a reaction
If you believe you may own reacted to an allergen not listed on the packaging, you can report it to the Canadian Food Inspection Agency, which may issue a product recall.
Discover out more on our Food Labelling page.