The cashew is a boxing glove shape nut that grows at the end of the cashew apple. Unlike other nuts, cashews don’t grow within the fruit, it grows on the outside and hangs from the bottom of the apple. The cashew apple is a fruit from the cashew tree which is native to northeastern Brazil. Here are 15 more interesting facts about cashews you might not know:
- Native to northeastern Brazil, the tree made its way to India by Portuguese sailors between 1560 and 1565.
- The Portuguese name for the nut is caju which is where the informal name comes from.
- Over 90% of the world’s cashew crop is consumed in the United States.
- Nigeria was the top producer of cashew nuts in 2010.
- Dry/wet tropics are ideal for growing cashew trees. The ideal temperature is 77°F during the day and should not drop below 50°F at night.
- Sandy soils are best for growing cashew trees.
- During the dry season (winter), cashew trees flower and can be harvested a couple months after.
- You will know the nut is ready to be harvested because the cashew apple will be a nice red color (sometimes pink or yellow) and the shell of the nut turns dark grey. If they fruit falls from the tree it is definitely ready to be harvested.
- The cashew tree grows on average 32 to 50 feet and belongs to the Anacadiaceae family, also known as the sumac family.
- Cashews are always treated by roasting, boiling, or streaming before they’re deshelled because they are surrounded by a toxic oil similar to anacardic acid or urushiol that can irritate the skin.
- Cashews are typically a shade of green before the nut is roasted.
- If you tend to have gallbladder issues or get kidney stones avoid cashews because they obtain oxalates which can make your condition worse.
- Cashews can be processed into cashew butter and cheese.
- The nut can be found in industrial products such as paints and brake liners.
- The shell of the nut can be used in lubricants, waterproofing, and arms production.
Written by: Amber DiCarlo, Marketing Intern