Did you know that cashew nuts have a lower fat content than most nuts? Around 80% off that fat content is from unsaturated fatty acids, 66% of which are healthy, monounsaturated fats like those readily found in olive oil. Monounsaturated fats can help lower triglycerides levels. It is high triglyceride levels that can lead to increased risk for heart disease.
Cashew nuts can also help with naturally lowering unhealthy cholesterol levels, whilst also adding fibre and protein into our diets. This, in turn, helps with heart health and and helps to control blood sugar levels, hence reducing risk of diabetes when combined with a healthy, balanced diet. The little cashew is full of vitamins and minerals and also antioxidants.
The harvest of cashews is something very special. Cashew trees can grow really quickly and can survive in drought conditions, they can carry on producing fruit for up to 50 years! The cashew nut comes from the cashew apple when the fruit falls from the tree, and there is only one nut per fruit.
Because the cashew nut has a very hard coating it needs to be handled correctly in order for us to be able to eat it. It needs to be roasted, shelled then cleaned which, you can imagine, is a labour of love. The majority of cashews are grown in Bali and Indonesia then exported to India or Vietnam for processing. The areas in Bali where cashews grow are some of the poorest in the country, with lack of employment opportunities and poor soil standards. East Bali Cashew have revolutionised the first large scale processing facility in Bali and have fully respected the people and created the first, village-based facilities in Southeast Asia.
Instead of the vast majority of the world's cashews being shipped thousands of miles to be processed, often trading through 4-5 traders, East Bali Cashews now trade directly with the farmers and are then processed in the village.
East Bali cashews even use the shells for energy! They now employ over 350 people in this region where 90% are women who would have had little or no opportunity before this company started. Desa Ban is the region where the cashews are processed and they are working to improve the social, agricultural conditions and economic state. This is a region which suffers from staggering poverty, unforgiving terrain and lack of education.
There are around ten steps that the wonderful cashew has to go through in order to be edible. Once the fruit falls to the ground, they are collected and the nut is then separated from the fruit. They are then dried, steamed, dried again, opened, separated from their shell and peeled. When we buy raw cashews it is at this stage that we will receive them. After this stage cashews are roasted and flavoured.
Chill crunch another great snack from East Bali Cashews. Still using the same ethical cashews sourced from Bali, this combination of chilli and lime is out of this world! You first get the sweetness and the lime, then the chilli. .
So are you now, like us, in awe of the humble cashew nut? Essentially Health are great supporters of East Bali, we are amazed every time we read about them!
Cashews nuts, cane sugar, shallots, sea salt, chilli, lime juice, ginger, kaffir lime peel, turmeric, coriander, lemongrass
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