The cashew tree is native to tropical climates; it grows in Brazil, for example, and bears cashew apples and cashew nuts. Cashew nuts are small, green-brown in colour and kidney-shaped. Conversely, the cashew apple is the thickened fruit stalk that the cashew nut hangs from. The cashew apple is, at around 5-10 cm in size, far bigger than the nut and is similar to a pear or a pepper in terms of its shape. The fruit is only an accessory fruit as the cashew nut alone is used for reproduction. A ripe cashew apple is yellow-orange or red in colour. It contains a great deal of vitamin C, has a sweet-sour taste and is vaguely redolent of the apples that we are familiar with here. Its aroma is fruity and sweet.
They are relatively unheard of in Europe, but ripe cashew apples are used to make juices and jams in their native countries. The reason for this is that cashew apples are very touch-sensitive and perish easily. They are therefore not well-suited to being transported to far-flung lands. In Brazil, a drink called Cajuína is produced from the cashew apples immediately after they are harvested. It is reputed to have a medicinal effect and is used in rituals. In Goa in India, this juice is distilled to produce liquor. This is called Cashew Feni.