Where Do Cashews Come From?


Quick Answer

Cashews, native to northeastern Brazil, were discovered in the area between the Atlantic and Amazon rain forests in the 16th century. Cashew nuts, which are the seeds of cashew apples, are grown in tropical regions, including India, Indonesia, the Ivory Coast, Nigeria and Vietnam.

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Full Answer

Cashew seeds form small, hooked shells outside the bottom of the cashew apples, which grow on tropical evergreen trees. When cashew apples ripen, they fall from the trees. Because the shells contain caustic liquid that renders the seeds inedible if shelled fresh, the shells must be roasted in order to produce edible cashews. The soft, flavorful seeds are a source of protein, vitamin K, copper, iron, magnesium, manganese, phosphorous and zinc.

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