How Do Cashew Nuts Grow?
The cashew is a thin-shelled nut that grows on a tropical evergreen tree. The nut forms at the tip of a large, fleshy base, which is called the cashew apple, which resembles a small pear, and is about three times the size of the nut. When ripe, the cashew-fruits are picked and the nuts detached.
In tropical lands, where cashews grow, people eat the sweet-tasting apples. The cashew apple is rich in nutrients and contains five times more vitamin C than an orange. It is eaten fresh, cooked in curries, or fermented into vinegar as well as an alcoholic drink.
In parts of South America, natives regard the cashew apple as the delicacy, rather than the nut kernel popular elsewhere. Cashew apple is also used to make preserves, chutneys and jams in some countries such as India and Brazil.
The cashew tree is related to poison ivy, and the shell of the cashew nut contains poisonous oil that can cause an irritating skin rash. But roasting removes all the poison from the nuts. India and South America produce most of the world’s cashew nuts.