These nuts are thought to have originated in northeast Brazil. The kidney-shaped, gray-brown colored cashew nut grows from the bottom of a fleshy stalk that resembles the shape of a pear (though is referred to as the cashew apple). The cashew apple has a bright yellow or red skin and is between 5 to 10 centimeters long. The cashew shell is toxic, that’s why you can only purchase them shelled. Cashews have a distinct sweet, buttery flavor.
Today cashews are primarily produced in India, Brazil, Vietnam and Mozambique. Juice, syrup, preserves, wine and liquor are produced from the cashew apple, though the nut is the main form sold commercially in the U.S.