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Cashews oh Cashews..

Cashew nut is a popular snack not only in Indonesia but also other countries. The primary product of cashew nuts is the kernel, which is the edible portion of the nut and is consumed in three ways:

· Directly by the consumer,

· As roasted and salted nuts,

· In confectionery and bakery products, for example, finely chopped kernels are used in the production of sweets, ice creams, cakes and chocolates, both at home and industrially and as paste to spread on bread.

The Indonesian Ministry of Agriculture is working to increase the production of cashew nut by revitalizing cashew tree in the provinces of Southeast Sulawesi, West Nusa Tenggara, East Nusa Tenggara, Yogyakarta and Bali. East Nusa Tenggara is a priority province to revitalize cashew tree with a total area of 100 hectares.

The ministry also expands the area of cashew tree cultivation to further increase cashew nut production. Again, the province of East Nusa Tenggara gets the priority thanks to the abundance of empty plots of land.

Cashew seeds should be sown or planted during the rainy season in areas that lack irrigation facilities. The best time for planting is during periods of regular rainfall so that the soil does not dry out. If the soil dries out before the germinated seeds have become securely rooted, they may die.

The advantage of early planting is that it gives the seedlings more time to develop before the onset of the dry season. The cashews are ready for harvesting when the cashew apples begin to fall from the tree. The cashew apples, which are edible but highly perishable, are collected.

The cashew nuts, still in their shell, are removed from the ends of the fruits and may be dried in the sun, depending on the manufacturer’s process. These cashews are raw and not sold due to a risk of urushiol exposure.

The raw cashews are then roasted at high heat, either by steaming them in a large rotating drum or vat of boiling oil to remove urushiol remnants before they can be shelled, thoroughly dried, and peeled.

At this point, these cashews are still often labeled as raw, since they’re free of added flavorings. Cashews may be roasted a second time for flavoring purposes if they’re being sold as roasted cashews. Another round of roasting may also help ensure any remaining urushiol residue is removed before sale.

In Indonesia the cashew season generally begins in August and lasts until December.

Cashew processing methods have improved considerably over the years. The process consists of five main steps:

· Shelling: removal of the outer shell and CNSL

· Peeling: removal of the testa

· Grading: into different sizes and colours in accordance with standard grading

· Drying or humidifying: to a final moisture content of 5 percent

· Packing: into airtight bags or cans, depending upon the scale of operation

The price of cashew nuts is much higher than the price of peanuts or other snacks so those sales must be based on a strong taste preference by the consumer. Cashew nuts are generally considered a luxury product and an element of their appeal may lie in this status.


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