When it comes to dry fruits, cashews are one of the most enjoyed nuts that are eaten with appreciation throughout the globe. Native to Brazil, from where the Portuguese sailors brought them to India, cashews grow on trees as a fruit called “cashew apple”.
The nuts grow at the bottom of the cashew apple. When cultivating, cashew nuts are extracted from the apple and the apple is left to rot as a false fruit. However, in some parts of the world, people also use cashew apples like real fruit and make drinks out of them. One famous drink made out of cashew apple is called Fenni.
Cultivating cashews is not everyone’s cup of tea. The nut is grown inside the shell that contains urushiol, a substance also found in poison ivy. The toxin resin inside the shell makes it difficult for the nut to be safely removed. To do that, producers usually steam or cook the nut for a bit at a high temperature. The shell can also be boiled with the nut in it. That makes it really easy for the nut to separate itself from the shell because of the heat, which consequently makes the extraction possible.
So, when the nuts are essentially sold as raw fair trade cashews, they are not completely uncooked. However, they still taste raw as compared to roasted cashews.
When you are buying cashews at a market or a local store, there are some things that you need to consider or look for before making your decision. A lot of people just go to a local store or a market and buy a packet of fine nuts. But when you are buying cashews in bulk to store them for later use, it is best if you make sure that you are getting the best of what you want.
Before we get into the storage process, let’s talk about what to look for when buying cashews.
How to Make Your Selection of Cashew Nuts
Roasted and salted cashews are easily and widely available. You can find them everywhere. But raw cashews are a bit hard to find. In addition to that, many people believe salted and roasted to be the same thing, which they are not. The question is, what are you looking for, salted or unsalted?
Roasted cashews can either be salted or unsalted, you can buy them in pieces or as a whole. Moreover, you can also buy dry roasted cashews. Unlike roasted cashews, dry-roasted cashews are roasted without any oil. It is best for you if you are being careful about your fat intake. Dry-roasted cashews are proven to have lower fat than any other dry nut.
One advantage of buying raw cashews instead of roasted or dry-roasted cashews is that you can roast them at home and add any flavor of your choice. In addition to salt, a lot of people add chili powder, paprika powder, and lime juice to make their roasted cashews taste even better. In fact, you can add any spice you want to get the flavor you want.
Apart from that, if you are going to use cashew nuts as an ingredient, it is best to buy them raw, because roasted nuts can add a flavor to your dish that you probably don’t want. For instance, if you are trying to make flour out of cashews, you should buy them raw, because roasted cashews wouldn’t make perfect flour. That being said, you can also buy ready-made cashew flour from a store.
Once you have made your mind about what kind of cashews you want, it is time to look for the quantity and packaging you need. In local stores and supermarkets, cashews in bulk are offered in packaged cartons – prepacked by the producer. But prepacked products aren’t 100% trustworthy, you still have to check the packaging to be sure that it is up to the mark.
When buying cashew nuts in bulk, always make sure that cashews are completely covered. In addition to that, the store you are buying cashew nuts from should have a good product turnover, so you can get the latest batch of cashew nuts that is as fresh as it can get.
When it comes to packaging in small quantities instead of bulk, the cashews come in a different variety of containers and bags; some can be resealed and others cannot be resealed, which means you will have to store them in a container at home. In addition to that, foil-lined cans and plastic jars are also available. Plastic jars can be airtight, which means you can store the nuts in them for longer, while cans are usually not designed to be sealed again. However, cans and airtight jars are still better than cellophane packaging if freshness and storability are considered.
Whether you are buying cashews in bulk or in a small quantity, you need to be absolutely sure that there is no way that air or dust can make its way into the package. Make sure there are no insects or moisture in the product, and the cashews aren’t shriveled or have an unusual color. If cashews are, in fact, shriveled, it means their “best before” date has passed and they are expired. If there is a way for you to smell the product before buying, do that to make sure that the cashews are not rancid.
If it’s your first or newer time buying cashews, don’t be confused with the label “cashew kernels.” They are the same as the cashew nut.
How to Store Cashews At Home
If you are new at buying and storing cashews, it is important that you carefully read the following paragraphs. Because if you buy the right quality of cashews and don’t store them properly, you are at risk of wasting your money.
Cashews are rich in two elements: oil and oleic acid. The oleic acid makes cashews’ shelf life stronger than other nuts. For example, cashews can last longer than almonds and peanuts in the same condition. Now, the richness of oil in cashew nuts is what makes the cashews perishable, which is the case with all the nuts. One ingredient makes it stronger and the other makes it weaker—nature, right?
The oil content in cashews can turn them rancid. Therefore, it is important to store cashews in an airtight container and keep it in a dry, cool place. The airtight container is important to avoid cashews to absorb the odors of other food ingredients.
At room temperature, the cashews wouldn’t last long; however, at room temperature, they can even last up to 6 months. And if you freeze them, they can even last for one year. In other words, the colder the temperature, the more life will cashews have. A lot of people use cashews as a food ingredient instead of just a daytime snack, using it in recipes of desserts, sweets, and other fusion dishes. That’s why they need to store the cashews for as long as possible.
Some people make flour or butter out of cashews. For them, storing it in a freezer can really help cashews stay good and improve the lives of these delicious nuts.