Hacker News new | past | comments | ask | show | jobs | submit login
Cashew of Pirangi (wikipedia.org)
177 points by tcgv 10 months ago | hide | past | favorite | 38 comments

I have been to the location where this cashew tree is. If you are just passing by on the street you can barely notice it is "the cashew tree", for it is so huge it takes up what could be an entire lot. From walking around it, you could think it is several individual trees, because it's branches bend downward, touch the soil, grow new smaller roots there, and then go up again.

Also, I was there around 10 years ago, so it may have changed, but back then tourists didn't really go "under/inside" the tree, they were mostly outside the lot, maybe to preserve the tree and avoid possible damage/diseases.

I lived 15 minutes from the tree for most of my life. Really bizarre to see this in the front page of HN! Tourists have been allowed inside the tree for a while now. You can drink cashew juice, there’s a very neat observation platform and a charming wooden pathway. I recommend looking up “maior cajueiro do mundo” for pictures. The Wikipedia article doesn’t do it justice :)

Wikimedia commons has many pictures, including the wooden pathway: https://commons.wikimedia.org/wiki/Category:Maior_cajueiro_d...

I'm surprised there's no proper drone footage.

You can contribute. :)

Generally you don't want to get to close to cashew trees. The seed and other plant parts contain urishiol. This is the same compound in poison oak/ivy that causes allergic reactions.

In general people who harvest cashew fruit wear lots of protective clothing.

Also, fun fact, the seeds need to be heated before being eaten. There are no truly "raw" cashews at your grocery.

That would explain why my mother got bad allergies on her skin after handling cashews (seeds and all) from our backyard. Thanks for the info, I will look more into it.

Also watch out for mangos. I can’t handle them without having an itchy breakout because the skins contains urushiol.

Remarkably, I never have a problem with mangoes, despite being super-sensitive to poison ivy. The faintest brush of poison ivy causes a deep, weeping rash, but I handle mangoes without any protection at all.

There must be enough chemical differences to cause different effects. Whew.

Was that raw mangos? Asking because I don't remember ever having such a problem with ripe ones (nor with raw ones, actually). And have eaten plenty of both, more of raw, in fact. But guessing the raw ones are more likely to have some irritating chemical.

I would guess some people are more sensitive to it. My entire family handles mangoes (raw, ripe or whatever) and only my mother has allergic reactions. She also cannot eat mangoes otherwise she has rashes in the skin, while I eat up to 10 mangoes a day and end up okay.

Same here. Pretty much no allergic reactions to either raw or ripe mangos (in me or anyone I know), unless you call a bit of irritation or sensitivity around the edges of the lips, a reaction, that too, only with more acidic raw mangos (or maybe also with the skin of ripe mangos). I say "more acidic" because there are some less acidic, almost non-acidic varieties that we used to love and gorge on as kids - named Rajapuri or Totapuri mangos. A bit larger than the average ripe mango. Mild but really good tangy flavor. We used to eat them with pinches of salt, but they were tasty enough to eat without. I think a little sweet-sour. And you could eat a large amount without getting a stomach upset, like a couple of them.

Edit: Those were raw mangos.

We kind of figured it the hard way — it’s mango season now and she has bad allergies as always. We have been handling mangoes for years now, and she started using surgical gloves, but it still doesn’t fully prevent allergies.

Interesting, I buy this RAW cashew butter often: https://artisanaorganics.com/products/organic-cashew-butter and they claim certified RAW, so what's the catch?


5.3.2 The exceptions to this are when Federal, State or local regulations legally require an ingredient or the entire food item to be heated at or above 212F. A regulatory exemption to the temperature treatment threshold does not impact the Bioavailability score (see 6.0 below).

Looks like you've been spending $18 per jar of cashew butter for no reason. The first result for "how to harvest cashews" says "roast the nuts at 350-400 F. (230-260 C.) for 10-20 minutes" to deactivate the urushiol. Not very raw.

They boil them

Grew up climbing cashew trees and frying cashew nuts, never have I had an allergic reaction. Any literature on this you can point me to?

I just looked up this Wikipedia page (note: contains slightly disturbing photos of people's skin rashes)


and it notes that

> People vary greatly in their sensitivity to urushiol. In approximately 15% to 30% of people, urushiol does not trigger an immune system response, while at least 25% of people have a very strong immune response resulting in severe symptoms.

I've also heard this about poison ivy. (I assume cashew plants have less of this irritant than poison ivy does.)

Yeah, my mom only has to walk past some poison ivy, within a couple of feet, and she will end up with a bit of a rash.

You can also acclimate yourself to it through progressively increased exposure.

But it also varies a lot among people. My wife has no issues eating/handling mangoes but her twin sister has horrible allergic reactions.

From what I've read, along with anecdotal experience, the opposite seems to be true. Its seems like you need to be exposed to urishiol a few times before you get a reaction to it.

Often subsequent reactions are worse than the initial.

Literally the wiki page for cashews mentions the compounds in the article. Your anecdotal true life experience may be an anomaly

My comment in this thread might address this.

Like most allergens, people have very different reactions to it and can grow tolerance over time with exposure.

Seems like it might vary just as much as poison ivy exposure, and for the same reason (or nearly so, since the plants may also have other irritating chemicals that aren't the same between species). Some people are totally immune to poison ivy and don't get any reaction from physical contact with it, although not too many.

There are wooden walkways imside but we had to pay a little to enter.

> From walking around it, you could think it is several individual trees, because it's branches bend downward, touch the soil, grow new smaller roots there, and then go up again.

The same happens with some banyan trees, in a big way[1].


[1] See section "List of historical banyan trees" at above link, and link below.


Also, interestingly (from first link):

' Older banyan trees are characterized by aerial prop roots that mature into thick, woody trunks, which can become indistinguishable from the primary trunk with age. Old trees can spread laterally by using these prop roots to grow over a wide area. In some species, the prop roots develop over a considerable area that resembles a grove of trees, with every trunk connected directly or indirectly to the primary trunk. The topology of this massive root system inspired the name of the hierarchical computer network operating system "Banyan VINES" '. VINES had directory services before Novell Netware and Microsoft did, and was widely used (pun intended) for a while.

Cashew fruit (not the nut, which grows on the outside of the fruit), is quite tasty and oddly filling. Try it if you ever have the opportunity.


Some more observations about this:

- Most Americans & Canadians are completely unaware of the fruit. Some Brazilians are unaware of the nut. I met at least a couple Brazilians (in Sao Paulo and another region that don't have cashew trees) who've eaten the fruit but have never had cashew nuts and didn't even know about the nut!

- All this tasty fruit exists above the nut, but--as far as I can tell--no effort is make to export the fruit. It might the problem of creating a market for a new product, or maybe the fruit doesn't travel well. Cashew juice is widely available in Brazil, but I wonder if most of the fruit goes to waste?

- Cashew nuts and ironically Brazil nuts are quite pricey in Brazil (at least in Sao Paulo). My thinking is that cashews are perceived as a rich person's snack in Brazil and priced accordingly. This leads to the circular problem that ordinary Brazilians don't eat many cashew nuts because it's expensive, so the domestic market for them stays small and for the affluent.

You can buy cashew-fruit concentrate in most U.S. grocery stores with a large Latin American selection. Even in Winston-Salem, NC where I live at "Compare Foods" supermarket. It's called "Jugo de Marañón" (juice of cashew).

I got in trouble in first grade in Rio de Janeiro (Our Lady of Mercy school). I didn't understand the concept of having to "stay inside the premises". For the first few days I wandered, unknowingly, outside the lower-elementary area, outside the upper-elementary area, outside the high school area. I found the street vendor and bought a hot dog and a "refresco de caju" (cashew drink) those first several days. A nun caught my innocent act and no more hot dogs and caju for lunch.

> All this tasty fruit exists above the nut, but--as far as I can tell--no effort is make to export the fruit. It might the problem of creating a market for a new product, or maybe the fruit doesn't travel well.

From Wikipedia: "Cashew nuts are more widely traded than cashew fruits, because the fruit, unlike the nut, is easily bruised and has a very limited shelf life." -- https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Cashew

This is very true... The fruit is very fragile and degrades too fast.

Castanhas do Pará (Brazil nuts) are not that expensive in Brazil are they? I'm seeing R$50/kg on an ecommerce site, that's like like $5/lb. I'll try to get a better price quote tomorrow. You can't have too many of them anyway, it can cause quite a movement of the bowels.

Caju nuts I'm assuming are expensive because they are mostly exported. It's probably the same as arabica coffee in Colombia, it's too good to consume domestically.

Caju fruit you're probably right, does not travel well. Same as açaí, that won't go far without refrigeration or freezing.

> Castanhas do Pará (Brazil nuts) are not that expensive in Brazil are they? I'm seeing R$50/kg on an ecommerce site, that's like like $5/lb

This is expensive. R$50 buys you over two pounds of expensive beef cuts.

Fun fact, you can eat the young cashew shoots as salad and it's quite delicious.

One might miss the tree for the forest.

It seems that in this case the tree essentially is a small forest.

Is this a different type of organism than Pando (https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Pando_(tree) )? Pando is a "clonal colony" whereas Pirangi is actually a single tree?


Why now? It is a famous tourism spot in Brazil for decades and decades

Guidelines | FAQ | Lists | API | Security | Legal | Apply to YC | Contact