The Cashew tree (Anacardium Occidentale) is a tropical evergreen native to the Americas but is now widely cultivated in Asia and Africa. Cashew in its natural form is a soft, white, meaty kernel contained within the hard shells of kidney shaped, raw cashew nuts. Cashew is consumed all over the world as a snack or used as a food ingredient.
The fruit of the cashew tree is an accessory fruit (sometimes called a pseudocarp or false fruit). What appears to be the fruit is an oval or pear-shaped structure, a hypocarpium, that develops from the pedicel and the receptacle of the cashew flower Called the cashew apple, better known in Central America as marañón, it ripens into a yellow and/or red structure about 5–11 cm long. It is edible, and has a strong “sweet” smell and a sweet taste.
The true fruit of the cashew tree is a kidney or boxing-glove shaped drupe that grows at the end of the cashew apple. The drupe develops first on the tree, and then the pedicel expands to become the cashew apple. Within the true fruit is a single seed, the cashew nut.