Cashews grow on trees. That’s not too shocking. But the particulars throw a lot of people for a loop: the cashew nut is encased in a shell at the base of the cashew fruit, commonly called the cashew apple. In many of the countries where cashews are grown, the “apple” is turned into jellies and many drinks.


Vanilla is the edible fruit of an orchid. Although vanilla is now grown in many regions around the world—most notably Madagascar—the bee that can naturally pollinate vanilla is only found in Mexico and Central America. Everywhere else in the world that vanilla grows, it must be hand pollinated which is one reason why vanilla is so expensive.


One might think that chickpeas, like regular peas, grow in a pod with multiple seeds. But this is wrong, chickpeas do grow in pods, but there are hardly two chickpeas inside each one. The usually small fuzzy shells hide the protein–packed legume perfect for making hummus!


Peanuts are legumes — not nuts — which puts them in the same grouping as kidney and lima beans. Nothing brings that message home quite like this freaky image of them freshly dug from the ground, growing all bean-like.

Cacao or cocoa beans

Chocolate comes from the seeds of the fruit of the Theobroma cacao tree — the leathery cocoa pod pictured here. But you don’t just grind up the seeds to make chocolate. They have to be roasted and fermented first.

Published in Dawn, Young World, May 11th, 2019