Over the years I’ve had many requests from my customers for sprouted, organic cashews. Nate, I love cashews. When are you going to offer sprouted cashews!? Well, I’ve heard you loud and clear and I think it’s overdue that I share a little on the topic.
If you’re like me cashews are one of my favorite nuts and one of the most popular nuts in the United States. Full of essential fatty acids, B vitamins, fiber, protein, and minerals, most people would be surprised to know that they contain less fat and more natural sugars than other nuts. No wonder they taste so good!
Cashews are native to Brazil and surrounding countries in South America, but are also grown in India and southeast Asia. Up to 90% of the cashews imported into the U.S. come from India. While most people think cashews are nuts, they are actually a seed that grows on the outside of the apple of a cashew tree.
Cashews have a toxic oil in their shells that resembles poison ivy and goes by the name of cardol or urushiol. In order to reduce the toxin and make the shells easier to remove harvesters have to roast or steam the shell. This process also slightly heats the cashew, thus reducing its enzymes. These cashews will be labeled as “raw” in your grocery store, though they are not truly raw, just like pasteurized almonds are not truly raw.
There are producers in Indonesia that have developed a technique to extract the cashew from the shell without exposing it to any of the toxic oil. These are truly raw cashews. Like all raw nuts and seeds though, they still have their phytic acid and enzyme inhibitors intact, which will block you from absorbing many of the nuts minerals and possibly cause digestive issues and discomfort for some.
It is recommended to sprout them by pre-soaking them in a saltwater solution to neutralize the phytic acid, though you should keep the soaking to no longer than 6 hours or the cashews may turn slimy. Once they are soaked, they should be rinsed off and kept refrigerated and eaten within 3-5 days to avoid molding. If you choose to dehydrate them then remember to keep the temperature no higher than 115 degrees F so as to avoid any destruction of enzymes and to preserve more nutrients. Drying time takes up to 4 days depending on the level of crunchiness you prefer.
As always, if making them is too much time or trouble for you I always offer sprouted, organic cashews right here at Nate's Raw Harvest. I handmake every single one of my products so you are guaranteed the highest quality on the market.