A jar of cashews in your fridge is a mighty fine thing to have. When it comes time to top a salad, round-out a stir fry, or even just manage an afternoon craving, these creamy, crescent-shaped tree nuts are there to help. Do you love cashews?
Although technically a seed and not a nut, cashews are certainly nutty enough to stand their ground among the almonds, walnuts, and pistachios of the world. They can be eaten raw, roasted with spices, or ground into a butter for spreading on toast. Cashews are also equally at home in savory dishes as they are in sweet baked goods.
Cashews have a rich, and frankly addictive, buttery flavor and an equally creamy texture. Roasting brings out more of their nuttiness and enhances their crunch-factor. They are a natural companion to almost any Chinese stir-fry or Asian rice bowl, but cashews are chameleons for almost any dish into which you want to throw them.
Buy cashews that are as fresh as you can find them. They should smell enticingly nutty, feel a little oily on their surface, and crunch when you bite into them. Their high oil content causes the nuts to quickly go rancid at room temperature, so store them in the fridge or freezer. Cashews are a tropical crop, so it's not likely that you'll find local producers unless you live in those areas. If you can't find them in bulk bins at the grocery store, there are many reliable online vendors. One of my favorites is Nuts.com:
And once you've procured yourself a nice stash of cashews, here are some of our favorite recipes for using them.
• Brown Rice Bowl with Tofu, Lemongrass, and Cashews
• How to Stir Fry Chicken
• Rice and Mixed Greens Salad with Dates, Cashews, and Chickpeas
• Saffron Rice with Peas and Cashews
• Fresh Figs and Cashew Cream
• Cashew Meringues and Black Cherry Jam
• Cashew-Cardamom Chia Pudding
What are your favorite ways to use cashews?
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(Image: Emma Christensen)