Mystery Food

The image above is not of a squash.

The yellow fruit (actually, an “accessory fruit”) is called a marañón, and unless you’re already familiar with the picture, you’ve probably never eaten it.  It’s edible (even though urban legend has it as poisonous).  It tastes and smells sweet and is very juicy, but the skin is thin and fragile, making it unsuitable for transport or importation.  And while the fruit’s name is Spanish, the picture above comes from India (via Flickr) — the food is very common.

So common, in fact, that while you’ve likely never eaten a marañón, you probably have eaten what’s inside the green part.  The green section is the casing of a seed which we typically think of, incorrectly (in the botanical sense) as a nut.

Yep:  That’s what a cashew looks like.

Bonus fact: A accessory fruit — sometimes called a false fruit, although that use has been deprecated among botanists — is a fruit (like the marañón) in which the flesh is derived from tissue other than a ripened ovary.  In the case of the marañón, the ovary is the cashew nut, for example.  Other, more common examples?  Apples (the core is the ovary; the part we eat is the accessory fruit), and strawberries (the seeds are the ovary).

From the Archives: Strawberry Bugs — with apologies if you never eat strawberries again.

Related: Want to give cashew fruit juice a try? Go right ahead.

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