Today’s Wonder of the Day was inspired by Nathan from London, MI. Nathan Wonders, “Are cashews nuts even though they grow on fruits?” Thanks for WONDERing with us, Nathan!
What’s your favorite apple? There are so many to choose from! Some people like their apples to be Granny Smith’s green. Others say Red Delicious is the only way to go. Whether you dip your apples in caramel or bake crab apples into a pie, everyone has a favorite when it comes to this popular fruit!
You’d think you would know an apple when you see it, right? After all, they all look pretty much the same—round and shiny, usually with a stem. Believe it or not, many people eat another type of apple often without knowing it. What are we talking about? The cashew apple!
That’s right—the cashew is a fruit. To be specific, the cashews you might get in a pack of assorted nuts are the seeds of the cashew apple. The fruits grow on trees native to Brazil, but early explorers spread them all over the world. Today, cashew trees grow in Asia, Africa, and South America.
What does a cashew apple look like? They’re a lot like the apples you might buy at a grocery store. They’re usually red or yellow. However, they’re shaped like ovals, while most apples are more round. And the cashew—the part you’re most likely familiar with—grows on the outside of the apple, inside a hard shell.
Harvesting cashews is a lengthy process. First, each cashew apple comes with exactly one cashew seed. Just imagine how many apples go into making one snack jar of cashews! And each cashew has to be carefully taken from its shell and cleaned well. The cashew’s shell, called a drupe, is toxic and can cause sickness if eaten. Just touching the shell can burn your skin!
The apple itself is used in many countries to make jams and juices. It’s even an ingredient in some curry dishes. The cashew is often cooked in stir-fries or, of course, eaten by itself. Cashews are also sometimes turned into dairy alternatives, like cashew milk.
Have you ever eaten a cashew? If so, you know they can be a tasty snack. You’ll be happy to know they’re also good for you. That’s right! Cashews are a great source for many of the vitamins and minerals that can help keep people healthy.
Do cashew trees grow where you live? If so, you might recognize them by another name. In Brazil, they’re known by the Portuguese name “caju.” In Venezuela, they’re called “merey,” but most Spanish-speaking countries call them “marañon.” Whatever the name, cashews are one of the tastiest snacks around!
Standards: CCRA.R.4, CCRA.L.3, CCRA.L.6, CCRA.R.1, CCRA.R.2, CCRA.R.10, CCRA.W.4, CCRA.W.7, CCRA.SL.1, CCRA.SL.2