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A Cashew Apple a Day

I like the idea of fruit discards, despite not being a big fan of fruit. I was really bowled over when I learned not that many years ago that cashews are really kind of a byproduct of an apple-like fruit. Why wouldn’t Americans eat the fruit? I thought perhaps it would be hard to transport, too perishable, etc., but I’m now suspecting it’s because the fruit tastes like crap. (Or not, apparently an Indian company is making Kazkar Feni, a cashew apple liqueur.)

At least that’s the case with nutmeg fruit. I knew that nutmeg, the spice, is a grated giant seed, and that mace is the webby outer coating. But I’d never seen the fruit, which resembles apricot halves and was sold from liquid filled glass containers all over Penang. It took me a while to figure out these yellowish, floating, indented disks were nutmeg fruit. And while killing time at the airport, waiting for our flight to Kuala Lumpur, I noticed some vacuum sealed nutmegs in a bin with papaya and mango. The other two fruits are sweet and perfectly edible, so I figured nutmeg couldn’t be far off.


I didn’t open them until I got back home, and decided to bring them (along with green bean cookies, which were an unexpected hit) to work as a surprise scary gift to share with coworkers. And scare, they did. They emitted a strong medicinal smell. I’m not sure if they were pickled, fermented or what, but they were beyond pungent. I don’t know if you’re supposed to eat them plain, but it was akin to eating a ginger root like an apple. A little goes a long way. I had to toss the whole bag. Despite its detractors, I’d take durian over nutmeg, any day.

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