7 Things You Didn’t Know About Cashews

Cashew apple with nut

Photo Cashew - © Coffeehuman | Dreamstime.com

1. Cashew trees originated in Brazil, but are now cultivated in many countries across the world. Top exporters include Nigeria, India, Ivory Coast, Vietnam and Indonesia.

2. Cashews are a seed, not a nut.

3. The cashew seed is double-wrapped in a toxic, kidney shaped shell that protrudes from a  pseudo-fruit known as a cashew apple.

4. The reddish, pear-shaped cashew apple is an edible sweet fruit. It is too delicate for transport and thus cannot be found in markets. Its refreshing juice, known as suco de caju , is popular in Brazil.

suca de caju

5. In order to remove the toxic wrapper, cashews are roasted outdoors before being brought to market. These are the “raw cashews” you can buy in bulk. They may be roasted again like other nuts and seeds to enhance their flavor.

6. An ounce of cashews is 150 calories, but will keep you satiated longer than a processed-carb snack of equal calories. Cashews are a good source of healthy fats and protein, with 5 grams of protein per one ounce serving and 9 grams of unsaturated fats.

7. Cashew shell oil, derived from the toxic cashew wrapper, has unique chemical properties and is being evaluated for various industrial uses such as brake fluid.

  • Me

    Correction: is “suco de caju” not “suca de caju”.

    • http://www.fooducate.com/ Fooducate

      Fixed. Obrigado :-)

      • Helen

        Suco = Juice ;)

  • Utopia

    I had no idea cashews were toxic prior to roasting. So can they really call them raw if they’ve been roasted? Misleading…

    • Carol H

      It’s the shell/husk surrounding the nut/seed that is in contact with heat/roasting, in order to remove that toxic part. Secondary roasting is where the heat actually contacts the nut/seed and changes its flavor to a “roasted” nut.

  • Anna

    Informative and interesting.

  • Giselle

    Did you that cashews come from a fruit – Tobuscus lol (:

  • Ondine

    Cashew tree is related to poison ivy and poison sumac plants found throughout most of North America. Mango is also in this plant family. Some people who are sensitive to urushiol, the toxic substance in cashew shells and the poison ivy, sumac, mango skin, etc CAN get a dermatitis rash from eating cashews or mango. I don’t know that it’s a common problem but I do know 2 people who can’t eat cashew or mango (and they love both!) because they are so sensitive to urushiol. They both get really bad rash from poison ivy.

    I’ve always loved cashews – and can eat them and mango without ever having any problems – even though I’m allergic to poison ivy! Go figure! ;-)

    I hope the cashew fruit juice gets imported to the US – I’d love to try it.

  • http://b.rox.com/ Editor B

    I wanna try some suco de caju!

  • Geoffrey Frey

    Is cashews safe to eat if one has had severe diverticulitis requiring intestinal surgery many years ago? The surgeon told me they are a soft nut and should be ok in moderation.
    I do like them and eat them in moderation. But just wondering If that is accurate info. Thank you

    • nll

      I work with gastroenterologists & they are now saying you can eat whatever your body tolerates might want to eat gassy veggies in low quantities though.