Dear Kid,

I recently took a left turn at peanut butter and fell head first into cashew butter.

So (obviously) I thought I should investigate cashews (and by “investigate” I mean consult My Friend the Internet and eat the little dudes).

Cashews grow out of the fruit (which are generally called apples, but look more like teeny, misshapen pumpkins). DearKidLoveMom.comCashews are seeds. Yep, seeds. Not nuts. Seeds. They grow out of the fruit (which are generally called apples, but look more like teeny, misshapen pumpkins) which makes them technically seeds. Now forget that and move on to the conventional wisdom of “cashews are nuts.”

Cashew shells are poisonous. They contain urushiol which you may remember is the nastiness found in poison ivy. If this stuff can give you a rash on exterior skin, guess what it can do internally? No, don’t guess. Don’t imagine. It’s awful. Do not eat, touch, or even think about raw cashew shells. But don’t fret over it because cashews are never sold with their shells.

And I like these things?

Yes, I do.

Speaking of raw, did you know that raw cashews are green? They are. At least before they are roasted. This is because cashews are related (third cousins) of pistachios, mangos, and (wait for it) poison ivy and poison sumac.

Oil from cashew nut shells is used for all sorts of inedible things like insecticides, brakes linings, paints, and plastics. The sap from the tree (which is native to the Brazilian part of the Amazon rain forest and is now grown all over the place) is used to make varnish.

And I eat these things?

Yes, I do, I really, really do.

People in the United States eat 90% of the world’s cashew crop. It would be nicer if we shared, but did I mention the YUM?

Not only yummy, cashews are good for you (only if you eat them). They have healthy fats and phytochemicals (I don’t really know what a phytochemical is, but it sounds like it’s good for me). Cashews have all sorts of nifty minerals and micronutrients, which are teeny, tiny nutrients. They’re full of essential vitamins (and “meh” vitamins), antioxidants, and stuff that is good for your eyes.

Have a cashew. Why not? Unless I get there first.

Love, Mom