Do You Know How Cashews Are Grown? The Answer Might Surprise You

by Ileana Paules-Bronet
Ileana is the Senior Editor of Branded Content at Wild Sky Media. She grew up in upstate New York and Oregon and now lives in Queens, NY. Ileana graduated from Skidmore College with a degree in sociology. After graduating, she attended the Columbia Publishing Course in New York City, then worked as in marketing at Oxford University Press. Since transitioning to editorial, she has written for BuzzFeed, HuffPost, and Woman's World. She has also worked for local newspapers and magazines in upstate New York. In her free time, you can find Ileana watching Law & Order: SVU, eating ice cream, and spending time with her dog.

Whenever I go to a dinner party, the first appetizer I go for is the mixed nuts.

They’re sweet and salty, crunchy, and full of protein — they’re basically the perfect snack.

And let’s be honest, we all know which nut in the mixed nut bowl is the best: the cashew.

It’s delicious and creamy, and somehow it’s completely addicting. They’re always the first nuts to disappear, which is understandable because they’re just so gosh darn yummy.

I’d never put much thought into how cashews grow, but I guess I always just assumed that the tasty nut grew like other nuts: in the ground like peanuts, or in casings like walnuts.

If someone told me a week ago that cashews grow out of fruits that look like apples, I probably would have laughed in their face.

It seems like a ridiculous hoax, but cashews do in fact grow on trees out of the bottom of “cashew apples.”

[H/T Mental Floss]

bowl of cashews

Until a few days ago, I thought I knew everything important there was to know about cashews: They’re delicious snacks that are great to munch on, add to a meal, or toss in a salad.

I’d never really thought much about cashews beyond the best ways to eat them, but apparently I should have spent a little more time learning how they grow.

cashew apples

Unlike many other nuts, cashews actually grow out the bottom of a fruit called a cashew apple.

According to Mental Floss, the apple is called an “accessory fruit,” since it’s not the part we actually eat.

cashew nut

The part we eat, the cashew itself, actually grows out the bottom of the apple.

Additionally, it’s not actually considered a nut according to botanical standards — it’s a seed.

hanging cashews

Although we don’t traditionally use the apple part of the tree in American cuisine, lots of other cultures around the world eat the apple as well as the cashew seed.

The apples can be made into juices and jams, as well as added to curries for sweetness, but because they are delicate fruits that stain clothing easily, they are often just fed to livestock.

cashew fruit

The cashew seed itself is surrounded by several layers that are toxic.

Before humans eat the seeds, we usually roast them to make them edible.

Although they may not look like the cashews we end up consuming, these funky seeds are actually how they look naturally.

cashews snack

I don’t know about you, but now that I know how they grow, I really want to try some cashew apple juice or jam.

Did you know cashews grew like this?

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