Cashew is a delicious, oil-rich nut known for a flavored daytime snack in winters and an amazing ingredient in continental cuisines. Originated from Brazil, cashews grow on trees, hanging from cashew apples, which is usually considered a false fruit.
Apart from eating these nuts raw and roasted as a snack, a lot of people from around the world use them to make different dishes, including butter and pesto – their rich flavor and tempting taste are unavoidable. Although people usually buy cashews from stores and markets, it is important to know how they grow. An average person cannot pick cashews from a tree. That is because the cashew nut grows inside a shell that is attached to the bottom of the cashew apple.
The shell of the cashew nut has urushiol in it, which is a toxic substance also found in poison ivy. If not carefully removed, the toxic substance can reach the nut and make it inedible. Producers first boil or steam the shell at a high temperature to separate it from the nut. That is where the toxic shell can be removed and the cashew nut can be extracted out.
Considering this process, the raw you buy from the store aren’t really raw; they are, in fact, steamed or boiled. However, they are still pretty much raw compared to roasted cashews. This procedure can only be conducted by a professional because it is difficult and intense. For usual people like us, buying cashews from the store is the best option.
If you aren’t familiar with the right way to buy cashews, don’t worry, we got you. Here are 5 things to consider to make the right decision when you are buying and storing cashews.
Let’s get on it.
1. Type of Cashews
The first thing you need to figure out is what kind of cashews you are planning to buy. Are you buying roasted cashews to eat with a hot cup of coffee? If so, you can buy oil-roasted cashews, dry-roasted cashews, and salted cashews – roasted with oil and salt. Dry-roasted cashews are roasted without any oil in them, so you can opt for that if you are being conscious about your diet because dry-roasted cashews statistically have the lowest fat in all of the nuts.
If you aren’t looking for roasted or salted cashews and want to use the nuts as an ingredient, it is best that you buy them raw. You can use raw cashews in any way you want – butter, flour, pesto, toppings, sweets, and desserts. These dishes can also be made with roasted cashews, but the flavor wouldn’t be the same.
If you are buying cashews as a snack, another cool thing you can do is buy the cashews raw and roast them by yourself at home. When you are roasting cashews by yourself, you are free to add whatever flavor you want. Most people add chili powder and lime juice, along with oil and salt. But you can incite a fusion and add cinnamon and garlic powder to get a unique, thrilling flavor.
Whatever kind of cashews you want to buy, you don’t need to search for it roaming around the whole store; you can buy cashews online from right at home.
With every store-bought item, quality is the main aspect to look for. The checking of the quality of cashew nuts heavily depends on how they are packaged. If you are buying cashews in bull, then you’d have to buy a carton. Make sure it is not past its expiry date and there is no hole for dust, insects, and moisture to get in. Always go to the store that has a good product turnover, so you can get the freshest and latest batch of product, which would have a higher chance of turning out perfect.
If there is a way for you to smell the cashews, do it and make sure they are not rancid. And if you can see them, make sure they are not shriveled or have an unusual color. If they are, in fact, shriveled, it means that they are past their expiration date and it’s not a healthy option to buy them. That also applies when buying in small quantities.
If you are buying cashew nuts in small quantities, you will have several options of packaging to choose from.
You don’t get many options in the packaging when buying in bulk, so it only concerns you if you are buying in small, household quantity – which most people do. In small quantities, there is a variety of containers and packets. You might find cashews in a plastic bag – they can either be resealed or not. If these bags can be resealed, then you can store cashews in them. If not, you got storing to worry about.
In addition to these bags, cashews also come in plastic jars. These jars are airtight and can be used to store the nut for longer. In the same way, glass jars are also available – but they are a bit more expensive than plastic jars.
Cashews are also available in foil-lined cans. Unlike, these cans are not designed to be resealed. However, they are still better than cellophane packaging if storability and freshness are what you are looking for.
Buying in bulk is usually recommended because, one, it is more cost-effective, and two, it eliminates the use of plastic and tin packaging which helps the environment. However, you must have to have space enough to store bulk cashews.
If not stored properly, cashews can go bad, which would be a waste of money and a delicious pack of nuts. Cashews are rich in oleic acid, which makes their shelf life last longer than other dry fruits. However, they are also rich in oil, which does exactly the opposite – makes them perishable. It’s the oil that can turn cashews rancid.
That is why it is critical to store cashews at a cool and dry temperature inside a vacuum-sealed container. A refrigerator would be the best place. Unlike at room temperature, in a cool place, cashews can last for more than 6 months. If we turn it up a notch and freeze cashews, it can even make them last for a year. Buying in bulk and storing them in the freezer is recommended if you want to use cashew nuts as an ingredient and not a snack.
Moreover, the airtight container prevents cashews from absorbing other foods’ odor and keeps them safe.
Price, obviously, is the main factor whenever we are buying anything. Since cashews aren’t really rare and people use them all the time in their tasteful delicacies, they aren’t that expensive in the first place. In fact, you can buy Fair Trade Cashews online.
However, if you go for fancy packaging and heavy jars, you might find the price going a bit higher – which is justified.
Buying cashews in bulk is the most efficient way to save money, but it requires you to have enough use of them and enough recommended space to store them. If you want to buy in a small quantity, you can go for plastic bags and foil-lined cans of cashew nuts for the best deals.