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The cashew usually refers to the nutty seed that grows under the larger main cashew (pseudo-)fruit. This is also the reason that cashews are relatively expensive - a single tree yields fairly few cashew nuts.
The seed has a rich, recognizable taste, and is often eaten as a snack or part of a snack, as whole or roughly ground additions to various dishes, and finely ground in some sauces.
Vegans also find use for it in the form of cashew cheese.