Almonds and Cashews: The Nuts That Aren’t Nuts

Picture this: You go to the grocery store to buy a can of mixed nuts. If you open that can, what’s inside? Cashews, almonds, peanuts, pecans, hazelnuts, and maybe one or two other nuts. Did you know that most of the “nuts” in your can of nuts aren’t even nuts? You might have already known that peanuts are not a nut but rather a legume, related to beans. Did you know that those cashews and almonds aren’t nuts, either? The truth is, they’re actually both fruits! Read on and we’ll look a little more in-depth into exactly what these fruits are.

Almonds are a member of the genus Prunus, which includes fruits such as peaches, plums, and cherries. The almond “nut” is the seed of the almond fruit, unlike the seeds (commonly known as pits) of many of its relatives, the almond seed is edible. Another difference between almonds and their relatives is the fruit. Unlike the thick, juicy fruit that surrounds the pits of peaches, prunes, and cherries, the almond seed is surrounded by a thin, green, leathery skin. This skin is peeled away to reveal a woody outer shell, and inside the shell is the almond seed.

The cashew nut is a part of a large fruit of the same name, originally native to Northeastern Brazil, but now widely grown in many tropical climates. The cashew is a member of the family Anacardiaceae, which includes genera such as Mangifera (to which the Mango belongs) and Pistacia (of which the pistachio is a member). The cashew fruit (commonly known as the Cashew Apple) is rich in nutrients and is often eaten fresh or used in cooking in many countries, it is even considered a delicacy by the natives of many parts of South America. While cashew apples are eaten in many parts of the world, they are not popular due to their astringent taste.

I hope you enjoyed today’s post leave a comment to let me know what you think! Have any interesting facts to share? Feel free to leave those in the comments, too!

Happy Learning!

-Lizzie