Well Being

6 Crazy Cashew Facts You Probably Never Knew About

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handful of cashews

(Image: Ollgga/Shutterstock)

Cashews. You may think of them as a straightforward, innocent nut; what you see is what you get with cashews. But you would be wrong. These coquettishly curled nuts are hiding a few dirty little secrets, but they can't hide in their shells any longer. In fact, they aren't even nuts at all! Get ready to have your world changed forever.

1. Cashews Grow Out Of Apples

cashew apples

 (Image: wichitpong katwit/Shutterstock)

Have you ever heard of cashew apples? I didn't think so. If you have then I guess you're just more worldly than me so stop bragging about it. The cashews grow out of the bottom of the apples, which also go by the Spanish name marañón. While cashews are the more popular part, the apple portion is also made into juices and jams, and an Indian liqueur called feni. The ripe apples are also used in Indian curries.

2. Cashews Are Seeds

seeds in soil

(Image: alexsmetana/Shutterstock)

That brings us to strange fact number two: cashews are actually seeds, technically speaking. Since cashews grow out of apples, which are an accessory fruit, that makes them seeds and not nuts.

3. Their Shells Are Poisonous

scratching arm

 (Image: Kaspars Grinvalds/Shutterstock)

There's a very good reason why you never see cashews in their shells at the store. Raw cashews are surrounded by a double shell which contain urushiol, a resin that can produce rashes and is toxic to ingest. Cashews must go through a rigorous roasting or steaming process to remove the substance for safe eating.

4. Raw Cashews Are Green

green cashews before roasting

 (Image: Mental Floss)

Before the roasting/de-poisoning process, cashews are actually a pleasant shade of green! And pistachios thought they were special.

5. Cashews Are Related To Pistachios, Mangoes, And Poison Ivy


 (Image: elxeneize/Shutterstock)

Remember that urushiol liquid I just mentioned? It's actually the same stuff that makes poison ivy poisonous. It's also found in mangos, and some people are more susceptible to it than others (though you won't get it on your hands). All three of these plants come from the same family, Anacardiaceae.

6. Cashews Might Be In Your Car

car tire

 (Image: Bhakpong/Shutterstock)

Not in the cupholder as a road trip snack, but in your brake linings. That poisonous shell liquid is good for many industrial uses, like friction linings, paints, and resins among others.