Friday, February 12, 2010
O.N.E. Cashew Fruit Drink
Did you know that cashew nuts actually grow attached to a fruit? (Well, to be picky, a pseudo-fruit...but we'll get to that). Well, I didn't! As far as I knew, they were birthed by little blue cardboard containers...but apparently that is not the case. Oh well.
To break down a whole lot of information that I am sure Alton Brown would find fascinating (and could explain far better), the cashew nuts that we all know and love are actually the main fruit of the tree they grow on -- the Anacardium occidentale -- which we are going to be lazy and simply call "the tree." The cashew itself grows in a double shell, and once the cashew has gotten past its "rotten teenager" stage but is not quite a ripe "wise adult," the bottom of the stalk of the nut begins to swell and grows into a fruitlike tumor. ("It's not a toomah!" -- a cookie if you know the movie). OK, I am sure the cashew growers of the world didn't appreciate me calling their fruit a tumor, but if they thought I was missing a pop culture reference, they are clearly not reading the same blog and should head for classier pastures.
In any case, the fruitlike by-product of the cashew is commonly called a "cashew apple." By all accounts I can find, it is not only quite tasty but packed with all sort of vitamins and nutrients. It seems the fruit itself is on the delicate side and does not appear to be mass marketed, but is beloved in the countries the nuts are grown. I could be wrong -- for all I know, your local Whole Foods has a rack of them on sale right now -- but as far as web research went, that doesn't sound likely. If you really want to know more about cashew apples, there were 2,200,000 Google results on the topic, so you could have a few years of reading ahead of you.
So that brings us to this juice made by O.N.E. (which Whole Foods did in fact have a rack of), protected by the magic that is the Tetra Pak. The package makes some pretty impressive claims -- such as that the average cashew flower has more vitamin C than an orange. (Although it does not claim that the pack of O.N.E. juice has that much.) It is fat free, gluten free, and it may help ease sore throats, calm the tummy and promote healthy skin.
It might well do all of those things, and more -- but how does it taste?
The juice looks like really cloudy pineapple juice, and it smells sour. Sour as in a spoiled dairy sort of way. It's enough to give you pause and make you wonder if you should really be drinking this.
Honestly, the first few sips are just plain bad. I kept drinking it only because I could not really describe the flavor. But once you wrap your mind around the fact that the smell and the taste don't entirely match, it does grow on you. (Kinda like a tumor?)
The main flavor reminds me most of honey. Not plain honey, but a flavored honey -- though I couldn't put my finger on what that flavor was. Then it finally came to me that the extra flavor reminds me of peach pits. Have you ever been eating a peach, and as you get to the meat that's clinging to the pit, the flavor of the peach seems to become less sweet, more sour, and a tad citrusy? Well, think of that peach pit, combine it with honey, and that taste is what this drink reminded me of. I can see where some people wouldn't be able to get enough of this juice. Me? I did get enough, thank you. It's not that I thought it was bad, it was just not something I could see myself downing on a regular basis.
Different, but ultimately boring and entirely forgettable.
100 per container (11.2 fluid oz)
Fat free, gluten free, contains a ton of vitamins, and purports to be non-allergenic