How Do Cashews Grow?


Quick Answer

Cashews grow on a type of evergreen tree that thrives in tropical locations. The nuts are found attached to the bottoms of large, pear-shaped fruits called "cashew apples." Cashew trees are mainly found in Brazil, India, Tanzania, Mozambique and Vietnam.

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Full Answer

Fresh cashew nuts have a kidney-like shape and are encased in a fuzzy, gray shell. They contain a harsh chemical called anacardic acid, which can cause skin irritation and a reaction similar to that caused by poison ivy. Cashew nuts must be roasted before they can be eaten, as roasting causes the acid to dissipate.

Cashews are unique because, unlike other nuts, they contain about 10 percent starch by weight. This enables them to be used as a thickener in soups and stews. They are also a common snack food throughout Asia and the western world. Like other tree nuts, they are a good source of antioxidants, and they're also very high in the trace minerals copper and magnesium.

A typical cashew tree is approximately 46 feet tall when mature, but dwarf varieties that grow only to about 20 feet have been developed. Cashew trees do not grow well in areas where the average temperature drops below 50 degrees Fahrenheit.

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