Do you know how the cashew tree got its name?

Cashew tree

The cashew tree, latin “Anacardium occidentale”, belongs to the sumach family (Anacardiaceae). In some countries it is also known as the “kidney tree”. “Cashew” is derived from the Portuguese word “Caju” and means “kidney tree”. This is because the tree’s nuts look like kidneys. The trees, which grow to between 10 and 12 metres, thrive in a tropical climate. The Portuguese were the first Europeans to discover them in Brasil. Besides cashew nuts, they also bear cashew apples, which are very popular in Brasil - and relatively unknown in these parts. Cashew apples can be eaten completely, peel and all. They taste sweet and their colour varies from yellow to red. Cashew nuts grow on the cashew apples and belong to the stone fruits. Therefore, from a botanical point of view, they are the cashew apple seeds. Cashew nuts are surrounded by a 2 to 3 mm thick wooden shell that takes some effort to crack.