Cashew nuts are actually seeds that adhere to the bottom of the cashew apple, the fruit of the cashew tree, which is native to the coastal areas of northeastern Brazil. Cashew apples are regarded as delicacies in Brazil and the Carribean.

You have probably noticed that cashews in the shell are not available in stores. This is because these nuts are always sold pre-shelled since the interior of their shells contains a caustic resin, which must be carefully removed before they can be eaten. This resin is actually used in industry to make varnishes and insecticides.

Cashews are an excellent source of copper, and a good source of phosphorus, magnesium, manganese, and zinc.

Cashew nut processing

Cashew processing shields producers from the unpredictability of the raw nut market.

  • Cashew nuts are essentially the seed of the Cashew fruit.
  • After harvesting, the nut is separated from the fruit.
  • The nuts are dried under the sun for around 3 days.
  • They are then manually checked and cleaned.
  • There is another stage of drying in the sun.
  • Roasting softens the shell for easier removal.
  • The hulling process is partly mechanised.
  • Further drying follows now the kernel has been released.
  • De-husking is the next manual step, and removes shell particles from the kernel.
  • A sorting stage separates the full and half kernels.
  • Finally, the nuts are packaged.