The edible part of a cashew is surrounded by a shell and a very dangerous liquid that is related to poison ivy, so caution must be used during the harvest process. Cashews grow in the tropics and flower and fruit during the winter or dry season.
Cashews appear to grow out of the bottom of a big, swollen fruit called a cashew apple. The cashew apple is actually not fruit, but is the swollen end of the stem that is just above the cashew nut. Each apple is paired with a single nut.
Cashew harvesting takes place about two months after the fruit has set and the apple has taken on a pink or red color and the nut turns gray. If the fruit falls to the ground, then it is ripe. Once they are harvested, the nuts are twisted off of the apples and set aside to be stored in cool, dry place.
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