Food Science Universe (FSU)

Cashew Nut Processing

Native to the tropical regions of Brazil, cashew tree (Anacardium occidentale), produces a long, fleshy stalk, called a cashew apple. At the end of this stalk grows the kidney-shaped cashew nut that many know and love. Sprouting like a tail from the bottom of an oddly-shaped fruit, the cashew, in its natural state, is both very weird-looking and very poisonous. The experienced persons detach the nuts from cashew apple.

Cashew Nut Processing Flow Chart

Cashew Nut Processing Video

The process of manufacture is well-established. The processing begins with the drying of Cashew nuts. Sun drying helps the best for the purpose. After drying the nuts are stored in gunny bags. Steam boilers are used for boiling stored raw cashews. There are manufacturers of small scale boilers available for boiling of cashew nut in most of the cashew processing areas. The boiling helps in softening of cashew shell. It becomes easy to remove nut inside cashew seed after boiling. Now, removal of shells of steamed cashew nut by skilled labor, making use of cashew cutting hand operated equipment. The cashew shell involves usage in extraction of cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL), which is an important by-product of cashew industry.

Cabinet driers help in the drying of Cashew kernels. The next step is the removal of outer reddish skin known as testa  to obtain cashew nut after drying.The next process involves grading of Cashew nuts. There are 27 specific grades of cashew nut kernels obtained from peeling. Selection of kernels according to size, shape color, and count. After grading the next step is packaging. Vacuum packaging is done.The final process prevents the product deterioration and extends the storage/shelf life of the kernel up to 5 years if the pouch is not punctured.

Cashew Nut Products
Three main cashew products traded in the international market; these are Raw Nuts, Cashew Kernels and Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL).

Raw Cashew Nuts: The raw cashew nut is the main commercial product of the Cashew Tree, though yields of cashew apple are eight to ten times the weight of the raw nuts.

Cashew Kernels: An estimate that consumption of 60% of cashew kernels in the form of snacks while the remaining 40% involves usage in confectionery.

Cashew Nut Shell Liquid (CNSL): The liquid inside the shell represent 15% of the gross weight and has some attractive medicinal and industrial uses. The liquid is one of the natural resin that is highly heat resistant and used in braking systems and in paint manufacturing.


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