Fresh Kasoy / Cashew Fruit


I had several items on my mental checklist that I wanted to see/do/eat when I was in Palawan. I definitely wanted to see a kasoy (cashew) tree, taste the fruit if in season, kasoy5and get lots of the nuts at the “farm price.” So as we were preparing to leave Culion Island, I asked our hosts if it would be at all possible to see a kasoy tree and get some fruit. “Ay naku” they sighed, upset they couldn’t grant this request, “kasoy season ended two weeks ago!” Internally disappointed, I opted to just take a photo of a tree and finding one of those from the town meant a short tricycle ride up in the steeper foothills of the nearby mountains. Sure enough, the first tree we found near a seminary or Jesuit home was lush but totally devoid of fruits. Even the remnants on the pavement below the tree were definitely biodegraded at that point. But Marketman can be a bit bull-headed at times, and with two guys in my tricycle, I pleaded that we find a fruit on the tree. I had this odd sixth sense that I was being stubborn for a reason. Some said I might have to trek way up a hill, others said no chance, but after some looking, as if waiting for someone to come and take its photo, we found one PERFECT (to me) kasoy fruit still hanging on a tree!!! The problem was it was in someone’s backyard…


A quick word with the home’s owner and they so utterly graciously agreed that I could photograph the fruit, and the harvest it carefully so as to have my first view, smell and taste of fresh kasoy! Isn’t it SIMPLY STUNNING??? Kasoy or Cashew (Anacardium occidentale) kasoy2appears to be native to Northern Brazil, though the vast majority of cashews on the planet today are grown in India. It is a medium sized lush tree with large leaves and the fruit is one of the most bizarre yet endearing that I have ever come across. The cashew “fruit” is actually the encased curved meat that we usually call the “nut.” To confuse things further, once the nut matures, what looks like an uninflated balloon then fills up into a fantastic yellow or red orange color. It seems monkeys love this fruit and I draw a parallel description in that the bright cashew apple is kinda like the bright red butt of a baboon. Hahaha!!! Actually it kind of looks lika heavy curved cashew nut attached to the base of a makopa or tambis fruit.

When the apple fully ripens, it falls to the ground and rapidly spoils. But the nut is left encased in a super hard shell. Therefore, one doesn’t pull the fruit off the tree like I did, they just wait for it to fall. Talk about low-hanging fruit; this one is already on the ground… But kasoy3what amazed me is that you had to get hundreds and hundreds of nuts to get a kilo’s worth! No wonder this stuff is so expensive! The soft cashew apple is edible and I ate it for the first time ever in Palawan. It was a bit under ripe and astringent, but the aroma and taste was totally new to me. Not something I would pine for but definitely worth trying at least once in one’s life. Apparently, the apple is squeezed into a juice but I suspect the fruit must be totally and perfectly ripe to enjoy it that way. Once the fruits have fallen and rotted away, the nuts are collected (mostly in the mountain sides all over Northern Palawan) and readied for processing… One of the amazing things about my food journey as a result of this website is my heightened awareness to different ingredients and a new willingness to seek out things I have never tried or taken for granted in the past. As soon as I returned from Palawan, on a trip to Batangas, I noticed at least three vendors selling kasoy fruit as well… it seems it is grown there as well. And in my 40+ years of life, I don’t ever recall coming close to a kasoy fruit before; or if I did, I didn’t know what it was!


36 Responses

  1. There is a town (I forgot the name)in Batangas where numerous kasoy trees grow.But Antipolo is most abundant with it, kasoy there is cheap. I will be heading to Batangas to do some rediscovering (including foodie adventure) and visit each town… something that I used to do yearly but not since 4 years ago, this summer time is my chance.

  2. When I was in my elementary years, my parents thought they can can be weekend farmers in Antipolo. I remember having cashew trees around and roasting the few nuts I can get :), while the adults made the Cashew fruit into ensalada. Acquired taste, but it does grow on you.

    Have you heard about the herbal cream they make from Cashew (nuts, fruit, not sure), but they are very effective in taking out warts and moles. For people like me who can’t be near doctors (except veterinarians) nor needles.

  3. I heard of balubad (cashew apple) as a topping for pancit Malabon, but haven’t seen or tasted it. How is this prepared?

    I suppose the taste will be similar to the chopped camias topping?

  4. my grandmother has cashew trees with red orange fruits (or stems, should we say)

    they are in season this summer :-) we usually eat it with rock salt and nipa vinegar…an acquired taste

  5. when we were young we used to roast the nuts by putting them over bunched up dayami then lighting them up. the nuts will fire-up immediately(due to oils I guess)

    after the fire dies down, we tap them with small sticks to break it apart.

    one caution is that we do the roasting AWAY from the chickens. Apparently, it causes bulutong or chicken “chicken pox”. {wehehhe…sorry, can’t think of a better term)

  6. Hi MM, there’s a lot of kasuy trees in Zambales. I remember when we were still young, we used to collect the nuts and roasted them. The real fun begins when cracking the shell and eating the cashew.

    I remember also that during holy week, there’s a lot of young leaves(usbong) being sold in the market. We have it with sliced tomatoes, onions and bagoong isda for sawsawan paired with inihaw na isda. sarap!(just acquired the taste when I was in high school) same with the balubad. We liked it when it is really ripe, sliced and with some sugar.

  7. I really enjoy kasuy but have never even seen it fresh! I learn something new every time I visit here :)

    “One of the amazing things about my food journey as a result of this website is my heightened awareness to different ingredients and a new willingness to seek out things I have never tried or taken for granted in the past” — I totally agree with you!!! And what an amazing journey it is! :)

  8. We had a neighbor who used to give us kasuy fruits that came from Zambales. The “apple” when ripe tastes really sweet. The trees probably bear different types of kaust since the ones I’ve tasted were really good. Those that were not so ripe had to wait, and you cannot eat the nut raw because it’ll burn your lips. I never got “burned” but those unripe ones are really bitter and very tangy.

  9. always interesting post MM yes its true about having food blog it makes us more aware of new discoveries

    hello from portofino

  10. wow you do learn something new everyday…i didn’t know about kasoy fruit, even though i love love love cashew nuts and couldn’t understand why they were so expensive. until now…thanks for the post!

  11. most of the kasuy in antipolo now comes from palawan. MM, you haven’t seen the most difficult part of kasuy processing -removing the shells, (tricky because it is so easy to smash the kernel to bits)which have a very toxic sap, and roasting them just so. a friend from palawan gifted us with a huge sack of unshelled, unroasted nuts. five attempts and “burned” and very itchy hands and arms later, i had to wonder whether he was really a friend! heehee… (we had to ditch the whole thing, and my mom promptly went out and bought a can of roasted cashews!

    Mm, did you get to try the “bandi”? these are plate-size rounds of cashew brittle with muscovado sugar as “binder”. sarap…the market in puerto princesa has these, as well as many other forms of kasuy.

  12. I love love love kasuy fruit! Especially the ones which has ripened before picking. We used to slice it and eat it with rock salt.

  13. Most beautiful fruit to me is casuy is like a crown but I cannot tolerate it. It makes my throat itchy regardless paired with sugar, salt, bagoong or showered with vinegar. I had seen people prepared sawsawan for fried fish or pork with tomatoes, onion, vinegar and sauteed bagoong. That is another advantage of living in the province familiarity with fruits. I prefer my sans rival with casuy nuts the old-fashioned traditional way.

  14. Dear Marketman,

    one more for your recipe. try making sinigang na bangus or heto (catfish) with the ripe cashew fruit and unrippened banana (saba). then add ong choy (kangkong) right before you serve it with hot rice. whooa, back the he** up I’m ready to eat. the wonderful sweet pungent aroma of the casuy, oh my lord it brings me back a lot of sweet memories when I was back in San Carlos City, Pangasinan at my grandma’s place. As a child growing up my grump’s had different fruit trees in her backyard and she had about 3 cashew trees. I remember each time I would roast the cashew nut that my grump’s would be so piss off cause all of her chicken would start dropping one by one. When roasting cashew nut she’d always tell us to do it as far as possible away from her poultry area. Somehow when that thick nut shell of the cashew is roasted or burn it somehow releases funny odor/toxin that makes it fatal to the chicken. Also after roasting cashew nut then grind them up (use as a filler) we sometimes incorporate with some roasted cacao nuts to make a good hot chocolate. And that’s my ten cents on the cashew thing.

  15. This brings back memories of childhood. My cousins and I would just pick the fruits from the ground, throw away the fleshy part, and roast the casuy. Roasting it gives off a wonderful aroma, but it is so tedious and, from what I remember, a bit dangerous for little kids—I think the sap pops off (“explodes”) during roasting.

  16. It’s a beautiful fruit, although the closest I’ve come to the real thing was one made from papier mache! I admire your tenacity — it reminds me of me when I’ve on a food hunt. :p

  17. i read somewhere , sometime ago that in India, they now grow a variety that has three nuts per ” apple “– if true that partly explains why the country is the top producer of cashew nuts. however, if you are a cashew connoisseur, you will note that our nuts, although smaller, are far more flavorful than those big ones from elsewhere.
    the very young leaves –if you can get them -are great chopped and mix with tomatoes, onions, vinegar, salt sugar and a bit of olive oil

  18. Your photos remind me of the “bugtong”(riddle)I learned in school as a child:
    Tanong: May isang reyna, naka-upo sa tasa.
    Sagot: Kasoy!

  19. we slice the kasuy fruit but do not include the one near the stem as it has the burning taste in your tongue and place it in a bowl with cold water and sprinkle some salt. This will remove the ‘mapakla’ taste.
    When you go to Antipolo, the fruit displayed by the vendor is the paper mache not the fresh one.

  20. paborito ng tatay ko yung kasuy the fruit , he sliced them and sprinkle with salt, medyo “makarhat” na matamis, tapos yung cashew nut naman when we roast them we go to the river or beach para nga daw walang makasinghot na mga manok kasi daw mamamatay sila pag na-inhale nila yung amoy ng roasting cashew nut. i remember my manila girlfriends from college we roasted some cashew nuts on the beach when they visited me one and they were amazed, “wow flambe” sabi nung isa.

  21. How interesting, I have never heard of this fruit before.
    Your blog is so educational, I’m learning about so many new and different things.
    Thank you

  22. It was intersting to read the comments on this blog. I’m from Barbados and as a child we used to eat the cashew fruit, and throw the seed onto the housetop to dry out. At the end of the summer holidays we’d go onto the roof, collect all the seeds roast them and crack them to take out the nut. Those cashews which we roasted tasted so much sweeter and nicer than those bought from the store.

  23. ples can you tell me where to get this fruit cashew/kasoy to buy? i live in brighton and i can get it here. pls if any one no about this fruit,and were they sell it in brighton shops,pls E-mail me on my E-mail address,

  24. how do you make casuy white bandi from palawan? they’re round and small (saucer-size). They werent made from muscovado sugar and tastes like the maker used milk. pls share your recipe. thanks.

  25. On my caribbean island of Antigua, we have Cashew tress growing in abundance. The season for them is around May – July.

  26. I live on St.Thomas, VI and my friend just brought me some fresh cashews this weekend. Totally ripe and delicious.
    She has about 4 trees in her yard.

  27. ples can you tell me where to get this fruit cashew/kasoy to buy? i live in rochester n.y and i cant find it here. pls if any one no about where i can buy. this fruit,and were they sell or a web wear i can oder,pls E-mail me on my E-mail address,



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