Cashew Butter - Quite A Treat
Even if you've never had cashew butter, also called cashew nut butter, it just sounds good. Nut butters in general are very nutritious, and we're all familiar with peanut butter. Some say cashew butter tastes almost just like peanut butter while others call the taste of cashew butter quite distinctive.
Cashew nuts are rich in dietary fiber, vitamins, and minerals and also rich in mono unsaturated fatty acids, those heart friendly acids that help to bad cholesterol and increase good cholesterol. Minerals found in cashew nuts include manganese, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium, selenium, and zinc. Cashews contain just a trace amount of selenium. This is significant however. Our body requires only trace amounts of selenium but this so-called trace amount is a “must have”, and not all vegetables or nuts give is the tiny amount of selenium we must have. The fact that cashew nut butter is made from roasted cashew nuts rather than raw nuts doesn't appreciably affect the nutrients the nut provides. Cashew nuts also are quite rich in some of the B-complex vitamins.
Make Your Own Cashew Butter - You can make your own cashew butter by spreading out a cup or two on a cookie sheet and dry roasting them. You can use either whole nuts or pieces. Cashews brown quite quickly, usually within about 5 minutes. The pieces brown even more quickly and one has to be careful not to let them brown too much as that will take away much of the good taste.
Grind up the roasted nuts in a food processor or blender. Once ground, at about medium speed, add a little olive or walnut oil, not quite a teaspoon for every cup of cashews. The cashew butter will taste fine without the oil, but might be a little too much on the dry side. A couple of pinches of salt (use unsalted nuts to begin with) and 1/2 tablespoon of honey for each cup of nuts, completes the list of ingredients.
Rather than mixing everything together at once, it's a good idea to add the oil and honey gradually as you run the blender (you will probably have to start and stop a few times) until you get just the right creamy consistency. Keep your cashew butter in the refrigerator in a sealed container until its time to use it. Because of the honey, you'll usually have to let the butter warm up for a few minutes for ease in spreading.
Expensive, But Worth It - If you haven't purchased raw cashew nuts before you may find them a little pricey, as compared to say, peanuts. Part of the reason for this is, unlike peanuts, cashew nuts are imported, and unlike peanuts, harvesting cashew nuts is a bit involved. Cashew trees are tropical trees. we get most of our supply from Brazil and Africa. The tree bears an edible fruit, while the bean-shaped nut dangles from the end of the fruit. A hard outer shell must be removed to reveal the cashew nut we are familiar with. Harvesting cashew nuts is a little more labor intensive than harvesting peanuts or many of the tree nuts normally is.
Tastes Good, Is Good - Before someone gets upset with the close comparison of cashew nut butter with peanut butter, on the grounds that the peanut is a legume and not a nut, it should probably be stated that the comparison is one of taste and not plant species. If cashew nut butter tastes a little like peanut butter, so be it. In today's world don't use dairy butter or margarine nearly as much as we used to, knowing that in excess, neither is terribly good for us. Cashew butter, or cashew nut butter, is very good for us. Something we needn't fear eating too much of.