Life cycle of a Cashew Nut, seed to shelf
Food as we all know is very important for us, still, we as humans did the most humane thing we could possibly do, divided food items on various characteristics. There are fruits and then there are vegetables, along with many subcategories alongside these two.
Dry fruits are one of them, out of them all Cashew nut is one of the most appealing to the general public with its stable flavour and creamy nature. It’s also used extensively in sweet dishes as well, which makes it worth even more. Here’s how cashew seed moves from seed to shelf.
A cashew seed is processed in factories with manual labour or with machinery. The final product is known as the cashew nut which goes through a lot of stress and beating. These are vital for our human body as they are rich in protein, iron, vitamin-b6, calcium, etc. Along with that, they have a good shelf life as well which obviously depend on its quality as well but on average they last for 6 months at room temperature kept in a dry place in an airtight container.
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Origin of Cashew nut
Many of you don’t know that these little nuts grow on trees and aren’t in this white colour from the beginning. They grow only in Tropical evergreen areas, where cashew tree thrives to produce cashew seeds and cashew apple pseudo fruit. It is grown all over the world but Ghana, Africa which is famous for it coffee beans and cashew seeds is preferred over every other option as they produce in big quantities yet at a cheaper cost.
So, let’s dive into the process straight away. It’s not how you think they are processed. I bet you’ll be amazed.
Roasting of Cashew seeds
As the raw seeds of cashew are brought into the factory they are straight away sent to the roasting block. This is done in order to make the shell harder and separate from the actual nut inside. So, this process involves, putting these seeds into a furnace at 150-degree Celcius temperature approximately for 2 mins. Timing is very important as anything more than 2 minutes or less would not result in the cashew nut we see in markets. As they are taken out of the furnace, they turn from a raw seed to a hard shell, black in colour. Then they are moved to the shelling area immediately while they are hot.
Shelling of Cashews
Here, these hard and warm shells are dipped in water and then beaten with a hammer or a wooden stick. You have to apply some force but making sure that the nut inside doesn’t break as the shell is hard but the nut isn’t. After the shell breaks, we see a similar looking nut which we see in local markets, but there is still work to do as it still has a peel over it which need to be removed.
Drying of Borma Cashews
Trays full of wet cashews are kept in a drier, kept at 110 degrees stored in a chamber for one day. This process is crucial because we still have a peel over the cashew which isn’t easy to remove, to separate cashew from the layer this is done. Taken out of the storage area, these cashews are known as Borma cashews.
Peeling of Borma Cashews
Borma cashews are pale in colour with a removable layer on them which is removed manually or with a machine, but this step is very delicate as nuts are quite easy to break and a broken nut has less market value. So, the thin layer is carefully peeled off. Now we can see the cashew which is available to us, still needs a bit of refinement.
Grading of Cashews
As we begin to see our product, it’s time to grade them according to their shape, quality and size. The best grade cashews are the ones that are white in colour and big in size, these are called, “The king cashews”. Divided and kept in separate containers, which are then taken to packaging.
Pro tip: Yellow cashews, have a short shelf life and are processed with machines. While white cashews have a longer shelf life and are processed manually with hands.
Packaging of Cashews
These separated cashew nuts are then checked for impurities and if found, those impurities are removed. Again, a quality inspection is done, so that any unwanted element passes through. Packed and sealed in boxes of various sizes, they are sent to the buyers to enjoy.
Things to remember before eating Cashew nuts
Cashew nuts are quite easy to eat but quite hard to process, we showed the journey of a seed from beginning till the end, from seed to shelf. So, the next time you eat a cashew nut, remember how much hard work is put into it. While the rest of us enjoy it.
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