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Cashew Kernels vs Raw Cashew Nuts - Know the Difference

Cashew nuts are consumed all over the world. These exquisite nuts offer an array of nutrients that boost the health in many ways. Cashews are, therefore, used in a variety of ways – cashew butter, cashew drinks, savory gravies, baked goodies and much more. It is interesting to note that there is a difference between raw cashew nuts and cashew kernels. Let’s discover what this difference is.  

What are Raw Cashew Nuts? 

Although the term is widely used to refer to the nuts we consume, “raw cashew nuts” are actually the entire nut enclosed in a shell. The latter is the outer covering of the nut and is inedible.  

These raw cashew nuts are a part of the fruit of the cashew tree. This fruit is called cashew apple. It is an accessory fruit or a pseudo-fruit. It is shaped like a pear and is almost 3 times larger in size that the actual cashew nut. When the latter is ripe, it stimulates the ripening of the cashew apple. The growing size of the accessory fruit eventually pushes the raw cashew nut which then falls to the ground.  

What are Cashew Kernels? 

When raw cashew nuts are processed to remove the outer shell, we get cashew kernels. These are the edible part of the nut that is commonly consumed the world over. While the color of raw cashews is greyish owing to the outer shell, the kernels are white in color.  

It is impossible to consume raw cashew nuts with the shell still intact. Firstly, the shell is too hard to be edible. Secondly, it contains a liquid which is harmful and toxic. Therefore, the only edible part of the nut is the kernel.  

How are Cashew Kernels Obtained?  

Raw cashew nuts grow naturally while their kernels are obtained through human-driven processing. The hard shells need to be carefully removed before we get our hands on crunchy and creamy cashew kernels.  

The de-shelling process must be carried out very carefully in order to avoid any damage to the kernel inside. Usually, pressurized steaming is done in order to make the shells softer. These shells can then easily be removed either manually or with the help of machines.  

Avoiding Confusion 

It is important to note that “raw cashew nuts should not be mistaken to be “raw cashews”. The latter simply refers to fresh, unroasted nuts. These are edible and can be used in a variety of ways to add them to your food.  

These raw cashews have a mildly sweet flavor with a creamy texture. These are also highly nutritious and offer magnesium, phosphorus, zinc, vitamin E, vitamin B 6 and polyunsaturated fats  

How can Cashew Kernels be used? 

The shells of a raw cashew nut are completely useless and non-recyclable. On the other hand, the edible cashew kernel is used in many ways. It may be roasted and flavored in order to enhance its taste and texture. Alternatively, it may be used as it is without roasting as a delightful snack.  






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