What is Cashew Apple?

Cashew apple, also known as the cashew fruit, is a tropical fruit that grows on the cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale). Despite its name, the cashew apple is not related to apples but is the swollen part of the cashew tree’s fruiting structure. It is native to Brazil but is now widely cultivated in various tropical regions around the world.

The flavour and texture of the cashew apple are unique and distinct. It is generally described as sweet and juicy with a tropical, slightly tart taste. The texture can be crisp and crunchy or soft and fibrous, depending on the stage of ripeness. The flavour profile is often likened to a blend of apple, pear, and mango.

Cashew apples are commonly used in various culinary applications in regions where they are grown. They can be enjoyed fresh, eaten on their own, or used in the preparation of juices, jams, jellies, preserves, desserts, and even alcoholic beverages. In some cultures, the cashew apple is also fermented to make a traditional alcoholic drink called cashew feni. It’s worth noting that the cashew apple is highly perishable and does not have a long shelf life. Therefore, it is primarily consumed and enjoyed in regions where it is locally available.

What is Cashew Apple?

The cashew apple is typically pear or bell-shaped and can vary in size, ranging from small to medium-sized, depending on the variety. It has thin, smooth, and waxy skin that can be yellow, orange, or red. The flesh of the cashew apple is juicy, succulent, and slightly fibrous, and its texture can range from crisp and crunchy to soft and pulpy, depending on the ripeness.

Attached to the bottom of the cashew apple is the cashew nut, which is the true fruit of the cashew tree. The cashew nut is enclosed in a hard, kidney-shaped shell that is located within the bottom part of the cashew apple. The cashew nut itself is not typically consumed in its raw form but is harvested and processed separately to remove the toxic shell and obtain the edible nut.

Parts of Cashew Apple

The cashew apple is unique in appearance and consists of two main parts:
  1. Fleshy Pseudofruit: The cashew apple is a pear or bell-shaped pseudofruit that is typically yellow, orange, or red. It is relatively large and can grow up to 5-10 centimetres in length. The outer skin is smooth and slightly waxy, and the texture can vary from firm to slightly soft depending on the ripeness.
  2. Cashew Nut: Attached to the bottom of the cashew apple is the cashew nut, which is encased in a hard, kidney-shaped shell. The cashew nut is the true fruit of the cashew tree and is what is commonly consumed as a nut.

What Does Cashew Apple Taste Like?

The pectin-adhered1, waxy skin of cashew apples is impregnated with a chemical oil called urushiol, which gives them their rich, astringent flavour. Urushiol is present in all parts of every tree in the Anacardiaceae family, including sumac, mangoes, Peruvian peppers, pistachios, poison ivy, and yes, cashews. As a result, cashews are frequently roasted at high temperatures to remove any remaining oil and are never sold in their toxic shell.

A few minutes of steaming or boiling cashew apples in salted water can lessen their fibrous nature and bitter flavour, even though many cultures love the fruit whole and unprocessed. Additionally, you can simmer it right into preserves, jams, and other sweetened versions inspired by fruits.

What are the Benefits of Cashew Apples?

The cashew apple, while not as widely recognized as the cashew nut, offers several potential health benefits due to its nutritional composition. Here are some of the key health benefits associated with cashew apples:

Rich in Vitamins

Cashew apples are a good source of various vitamins, including vitamin C, vitamin E, and vitamin K. Vitamin C is an antioxidant that supports immune function, collagen production and helps protect against oxidative stress. Vitamin E is beneficial for skin health and acts as an antioxidant, while vitamin K plays a role in blood clotting and bone health.

Antioxidant Activity

Cashew apples contain antioxidant compounds such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds. Antioxidants help neutralize harmful free radicals in the body, protecting cells from damage and reducing the risk of chronic diseases, such as heart disease and certain types of cancer.

Fibre Content

Cashew apples are a good source of dietary fibre, which promotes healthy digestion and aids in maintaining regular bowel movements. Adequate fibre intake can also help manage weight, control blood sugar levels, and lower the risk of conditions like constipation and haemorrhoids.

Hydration and Electrolyte Balance

Cashew apples have a high water content, which can help in maintaining hydration levels in the body. Additionally, they contain electrolytes like potassium and magnesium, which play crucial roles in maintaining proper fluid balance, nerve function, and muscle health.


Cashew apples contain various phytochemicals, including carotenoids, flavonoids, and polyphenols. These compounds have antioxidant and anti-inflammatory properties, contributing to overall health and potentially reducing the risk of chronic diseases.

Skin Health

The presence of antioxidants, such as vitamin C and phenolic compounds, in cashew apples may have benefits for skin health. Antioxidants help protect against oxidative stress, which can contribute to skin ageing. Additionally, vitamin C plays a role in collagen synthesis, promoting skin elasticity and health.

How Can You Consume Cashew Apple?

Over time, people have been more creative in how they use cashew apples. Several products are made from this fruit, including:

  • Alcoholic beverages: Feni is a fermented juice and pulp-based drink popular in India. Multiple distillations of the liquid produce a strong alcoholic beverage. To get the most juice and pulp out of the apple, this approach generally requires stomping it with bare feet. Other cultures, including those in Tanzania and Mozambique, use the fruit to manufacture alcoholic drinks.
  • Apples: They are a great option for pickling, marinating, and making vinegar.
  • Jam and syrup: Jams, spreads, and syrups are made from the fruit’s pulp and juice. Boiling it down and combining it with sugar is a tasty treat.
  • Juice: You can add sugar or other fruit juices to freshly squeezed juice to make it sweeter, or you can add it to a smoothie.
    Sweet stews and curries go well with the cinnamon and turmeric in the curry, which have a robust scent. The fruit is sufficiently dense to maintain a tasty bite even after cooking.

Is Cashew Apple Poisonous?

  • The toxin urushiol, which can be fatal if taken under certain circumstances, is present in cashews yet many people are unaware of it. Cashew apples, which are tasty but incredibly perishable, are gathered.
  • Cashew nuts may be removed from the ends of the fruits while still in their shells and dried in the sun, depending on the manufacturer’s method. These cashews are raw and are not for sale due to the risk of urushiol exposure.
  • The Anacardiaceae family of plants includes pistachios, cashews, mango, poison oak, ivy, sumac, and Peruvian peppers.
    Although urushiol can be found in the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant, it is most frequently discovered in the oil that lies between the cashew shell and the nut inside.
  • When exposed to urushiol, you are more prone to experience allergic contact dermatitis, a delayed skin rash that resembles poison ivy.
  • Rats were given varied doses of cashew nutshell extract in an earlier study on animals, and the results included licking, scratching, trembling, increased pain sensitivity, mucous discharges, passive behaviour, and even death.
  •  It may have an impact on the kind and intensity of your reaction. Although urushiol can be found in the roots, stems, and leaves of the plant, it is most frequently discovered in the oil that lies between the cashew shell and the nut inside

How to Select the Best Cashew Fruit?

It’s crucial to choose a cashew fruit that is ripe and fragrant while choosing cashew fruit. The fruit should have a brilliant, consistent colour and should be slightly tender but not extremely soft. The perfume should be aromatic and sweet, with notes of apples, pineapple, and mango.

The fruit is probably not yet ripe if it is very firm or has a dull, pale colour. Furthermore, the fruit has gone bad if it smells sour. When purchasing cashew fruits, look for ones with firmly attached nuts that are difficult to separate from the fruit.

The nut should have a light nutty flavour and be firm without being excessively crunchy. Nuts that are too dry or show any symptoms of mould shouldn’t be purchased.


In conclusion, the cashew apple is a tropical fruit that grows on the cashew tree. It is a unique and flavorful fruit that is distinct from the cashew nut, which is the true fruit of the tree. The cashew apple is pear or bell-shaped, with a thin, smooth, and waxy skin that can be yellow, orange, or red. The flesh of the cashew apple is juicy, succulent, and slightly fibrous, with a taste that is sweet.

Although the cashew apple is not as well-known as the cashew nut, it has culinary uses in regions where it is grown. It is used in the production of juices, jams, jellies, and preserves, and processed into beverages and alcoholic drinks. While the cashew apple has a short shelf life and is primarily consumed locally, it is cherished for its unique flavour, tropical appeal, and versatility in culinary applications.