Cashews are native to the Americas, but widely cultivated in India and Africa since the 16th century. You never see cashews for sale in the shell because between the outer and inner shells covering the nut is an extremely caustic oil. The outer shell must be roasted or burned off with the oil (the smoke is also an irritant). The kernels are then boiled or roasted again, and a second shell is removed.
There are 8 people in the U.S. listed on whitepages.com with the last name 'Cashew'
(Mark Morton, 'Gastronomica', Fall 2010)
The cashew family includes: cashew, sumac, varnish tree, smoke tree, mombin, kafir plum, mango, pistachio, Peruvian pepper tree and poison ivy.
Cashews are native to the Amazon region, and were introduced to India by the Portuguese in the 16th century. Today, India and East Africa are the world's largest producers.
Oil from cashew nut shells is used in insecticides, brake linings, and rubber and plastic manufacture. The milky sap from the tree is used to make a varnish.
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