Cashew tree bears many, edible, pear-shaped false fruits or “accessory fruits’” called “cashew apples.” Cashew nut which is a “true-fruit,” firmly attaching to the bottom end of cashew-apple, appearing like a clapper in the bell. Botanically, this tiny, bean shaped, gray “true fruit” is a drupe, featuring hard outer shell enclosing a single edible kernel known commercially as “cashew nut.”
Structurally, this Cashew “drupe” is made up of outer, hard shell and inner, edible kernel. Cashew shell composes of a toxic phenolic resin, urushiol; a potent caustic skin irritant toxin and therefore should be eliminated. In the processing units, the whole cashew is treated under the high flame to destroy urushiol resin. Thus roasted cashew becomes safe to handle with bare hands by workers, who then mechanically shell the nuts to extract underlying edible cashew kernel.
Cashew nut measures about an inch in length, 1/2 inches in diameter, and kidney or bean shape, with a smooth surface and smooth curvy pointed tip. Each nut splits into two halves as in legumes. The cream white kernel features firm yet crunchy texture and sweet, buttery flavor.