Processing of Cashew Nuts

i) Collection of nuts

collection of nuts raw cashew nuts has gone through many changes since the 1970s when cashewwas a scheduled crop. The responsibility of buying raw cashew nuts was given to the NCPB as the sole government agents 

Later marketing was liberalized and the system was opened to all and sundry bringing in other players such as agents and traders who purchased and sold the nuts to Kenya Cashewnut LTD, 

Currently, marketing of raw cashew nuts involves simple linkages of farmers to processors ,exporters through middlemen.

ii)Processing

There are 2 methods of nut processing;Traditional artisanal and industrial cashew processing

In Traditional artisanal processing cashew processing nuts are put in open fire  and stirred continuously to avoid scorching until they start burning, there after thrown on sand to extinguish the fire and to remove the remaining humidity on the outer skin.
 

Industrially the nuts are graded in different size classes , dehumidified at about 16% moisture by spreading water over them andthen, roasted in a hot oil bath .
Both the artisanal and the industrial methods make the shell brittle so that they can be broken easily.

Shelling is mostly done by cheap female labor using special wooden mallets and pieces of bent wire.After shelling the kernels have to be dried to about 6% moisture content, thereafter the testa can be peeled off easily

Whole and broken kernels are graded into 6 grading schedules. There is only a small demand for broken or dark and unevenly roasted kernels

Kernels are dried to 3 % moisture content before they are packed to extend shelf life and prevent fungal and other infections. Kernels for export are vacuum packed.

Shell oil represents about a quarter of the mass of an unshelled nut . This fluid is a mixture of anacardic acid andcardol is the main by-product.

The apples are steamed under pressure or cooked in a 2% salt solution to remove the astringent smell. Addition of gelatin, pectin or lime juice clears the cashew juice from remaining undesirable contents.

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