Small Scale Cashew Nut Processing (eBook Download)

Cashew processing, using manual techniques, was started in India in the first half of the twentieth century. It was exported from there to the wealthy western markets, particularly the United States. In the 1960s, some of the producing countries in East Africa began to process nuts domestically rather than sending them to India for processing. This allowed them to benefit from the sale of both processed nuts and the extracted cashew nut shell liquid.

The Importance of Cashew

With world production in 2000 at about 2 million tonnes of nuts-in-shell and an estimated value in excess of US$2 billion, the cashew industry ranks third in the world production of edible nuts. India and Brazil are the major cashew exporters, with 60 percent and 31 percent respectively of world market share. The major importers are the United States (55 percent), the Netherlands (ten percent), Germany (seven percent, Japan (five percent) and the United Kingdom (five percent).

Cashew kernels are ranked as either the second or third most expensive nut traded in the United States. Macadamia nuts are priced higher and pecan nuts can be, if the harvest is poor. Cashew nuts have a well established market in the United States with a great variety of uses. Retail prices range from about US$4-11 per pound (US$9-23 per kg) depending on the size of nut and the packaging.

Cashew Products

The raw cashew nut is the main commercial product of the cashew tree, though yields of the cashew apple are eight to ten times the weight of the raw nuts. Raw nuts are either exported or processed prior to export. Processing of the raw nuts releases the by-product CNSL that has industrial and medicinal applications. The skin of the nut is high in tannins and can be recovered and used in the tanning of hides. The fruit of the cashew tree that surrounds the kernel can be made into a juice with a high vitamin C content and fermented to give a high proof spirit.

Cashew Kernels

It is estimated that 60 percent of cashew kernels are consumed in the form of snacks while the remaining 40 percent are included in confectionery. The cashew competes in the same market as other edible nuts including almonds, hazels, walnuts, pecans, macadamias, pistachios and peanuts. There has recently been a considerable rise in demand for edible nuts by consumers interested in quality and health aspects of food. The breakfast cereal, health food, salads and baked goods markets are all expanding markets for cashew nuts.

Table of Contents

Chapter 1 – Introduction

  • 1.1 The importance of cashew
    • 1.2 Cashew products
    • 1.2.1 Cashew kernels
    • 1.2.2 Cashew nut shell liquid
  • 1.3 Processing
  • 1.4 Opportunities for small-scale processors
  • 1.5 The way ahead

Chapter 2 – Cashew production

  • 2.1 Botanical characteristics
    • 2.1.1 Varieties
  • 2.2 Agricultural practices – propagation and culture
    • 2.2.3 Sowing
    • 2.2.4 Seasonal planting
    • 2.2.5 Raising seedlings in a nursery
    • 2.2.6 Layering
    • 2.2.7 Approach-grafting or inarching
  • 2.3 Land preparation
  • 2.4 Spacing
  • 2.5 Fertilizer use in cashew
    • 2.5.1 Basal dressing at planting
    • 2.5.2 Rate of application of fertilizer
    • 2.5.3 Method of fertilizer application
    • 2.5.4 Frequency and timing of application
  • 2.6 Diseases
  • 2.7 Pests
  • 2.8 Harvesting
    • 2.8.1 Drying of the raw material
  • 2.9 Storage
  • 2.10 Infestation of harvested nuts
  • 2.11 Post harvest handling

Chapter 3 – Uses of cashew

  • 3.1 Uses of cashew nut
  • 3.2 Uses of cashew nut shell liquid (CNSL)
  • 3.3 Uses of cashew apple
    • 3.3.1 Using cashew apples in recipes
  • 3.4 Dried cashew fruits

Chapter 4 – Trends in Cashew nut production and trade

  • 4.1 Global cashew production
  • 4.2 Cashew production in Africa
  • 4.3 Cashew production in Asia
  • 4.4 Production in South and Central America
  • 4.5 Global Trade Trends
  • 4.5.1 International Classification

Chapter 5 – Traditional methods of cashew processing

  • 5.1 Cashew processing in Africa
  • 5.2 Cashew processing in Asia
  • 5.3 Traditional manual shelling
    • 5.3.1 Quality control in shelling
  • 5.4 Manual peeling

Chapter 6 – Cashew processing operations

  • 6.1 General processing
  • 6.2 Cleaning, sizing and conditioning
    • 6.2.1 Soaking or conditioning
    • 6.2.2 Large-scale cleaning and conditioning
  • 6.3 Roasting and centrifuging
    • 6.3.1 Drum roasting
    • 6.3.2 The hot oil method
  • 6.4 Shelling
    • 6.4.1 Mechanical shelling
  • 6.5 Separation
    • 6.5.1 Pre-grading
  • 6.6 Drying
  • 6.7 Peeling
  • 6.8 Grading
  • 6.9 Rehumidification
  • 6.10 Packing
  • 6.11 Infestation
  • 6.12 Hygiene and safety
    • 6.12.1 Food hygiene and the law
    • 6.12.2 Food poisoning and its causes
    • 6.12.3 Personal hygiene
    • 6.12.4 Cleanliness of equipment and the working area
    • 6.12.5 Other sources of contamination
    • 6.12.6 Packaging and preservation

Chapter 7 – Bibliography

Chapter 8 – Selected references and contacts

  • Published sources
  • Internet sites
  • Equipment manufacturers and suppliers
  • Organizations involved in cashew processing

Appendix 1 – Trends in Global Production (1961-2000)

Appendix 2 – Products containing cashew apple and cashew nut

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