In this post, you’ll learn how to process cashew nuts.

Raw cashew nuts are procured from local farmers and the local market. The nuts are then dried in the sun for a period of two days and stored in the gunny bags for processing through the year.

The process of sun drying helps in removal of excess moisture, thus resulting in longer storage. The processing of cashew nut is a four-stage process, each designed to produce quality edible cashew kernel.

1. Steam Roasting

The outer shell of the raw cashew nuts has to be removed to produce the edible cashew kernel. The outer shell of the cashew is very hard and it contains a corrosive oil which is harmful for human consumption.

The process of steam roasting helps in the removal of this hard shell with minimal effort. The raw cashew nuts are put in a drum connected to a mini boiler. The steam from this mini boiler is passed over the nuts placed in the drum for a period of 10 -15 minutes. The nuts are left in the drum for 20 minutes for proper roasting. Roasted, they are then taken out of the drum and placed in the open air for a period of around 12 hours to let them cool down and help in removal of the shells.

2. Shell Cutting

The roasted cashew nuts are then taken to the cutting department to remove the outer shell. This is a complex process and requires highly skilled labour to get maximum unbroken kernel output. Each nut needs to be individually placed between blades of the machine operated manually to remove the outer shell.

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This process results in the production of cashew kernels with soft inner shells. The nuts are then placed in an oven which is constantly maintained at a temperature of about 60 degrees for a period of 24 hours to make the inner shell brittle.

3. Peeling

The inner shell of the kernel has to be removed to produce the white nuts. The peeling process is designed to remove this inner soft shell after the kernel is removed from the oven. The kernel is used for peeling after it is left in the open for a period of 12 hours.

This cooling helps in the peeling process. Each nut is individually peeled to get white nuts. These white nuts are then sent to the grading department.

4. Grading

The process of grading is designed to sort the white cashew kernel into different grades. The white kernel is divided into two main types wholes and pieces.

The wholes are further divided into 15 grades and the pieces are divided into 9 main grades. The process of sorting wholes and the pieces is based on the size, color and texture of the nuts.

The sorting is done based on the set international sizes. The nuts are then once again placed in the oven to make them crispier before they are sent to the packaging department.

Finally, packing and selling

The cashew kernel are packed into plastic bags of different sizes for sale in local markets, and in tins of 10kgs for sending to other markets.