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Shell me out some shopping advice
February 26, 2010 8:55 AM   Subscribe

Where can I buy cashews still in their shells?

I am looking for cashews-in-shells for some of my students. They are creating a cashew de-sheller for a mechanical engineering course project. I know there are some poison-ivy-like issues with the fluid in the shells and also that there are import issues. Still, can anyone help me out? Thank you.
posted by Eringatang to Shopping (16 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
 
Try a place like trader Joes. they always have things like that.
posted by NotSoSiniSter at 9:20 AM on February 26, 2010


Cashew shells are toxic, so I don't think you'll be able to.
posted by dozo at 9:27 AM on February 26, 2010


You can't, because they don't have shells. They grow in a state much like you buy them from the bottom of a cashew apple.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:28 AM on February 26, 2010


Here's a photo I took of cashews growing. There's a thick skin around the part we eat, but they're not really nuts. Also, they have to be processed because there's a really foul-smelling oil under the skin. The trees even stink a bit.
posted by Mayor Curley at 9:33 AM on February 26, 2010


Mayor Curley is half right. The cashew nuts hang from the bottom of the cashew apple, but they are encased in shells. The shells contain an irritant which is chemically related to the toxin in poison ivy, so that's probably why you never find cashew nuts still in their shells.

Even in countries where they're grown, like Brazil and India, I've never seen unshelled cashew nuts in the markets. I guess people are willing to pay a little more not to deal with allergic reactions.
posted by Quietgal at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2010


Oops. Preview fail. Anyway, you don't want cashew nuts in shells.
posted by Quietgal at 9:35 AM on February 26, 2010


Um, if you re-read the question, it is pretty clear that the poster knows about the issues with cashew shells, but specifically wants ones with the shells on...

You could try this guy, thought a 10,000 lb minimum order seems a bit high. Maybe you could ask for samples?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 9:47 AM on February 26, 2010


Also, these guys?
posted by Lazlo Hollyfeld at 9:52 AM on February 26, 2010


If you want them, I have exactly 4 cashews in shell that I brought back from my last visit to Costa Rica. 4 isn't many, but if you want them, let me know.
posted by bolognius maximus at 9:52 AM on February 26, 2010 [1 favorite]


Yeah, I was just at Trader Joe's and they didn't have any toxic seed pods anywhere (I asked). Here's a good link to info about the cashew. Sounds like in addition to the toxicity issue, the cashew apple is very perishable, so probably doesn't travel well; it also requires tropical temps, so no US growers show up on Google. Though from reading the article, sounds like if your students could get their hands on some ripe cashew apples, they can roast the suckers to neutralize the toxic goo. Bonus: Free varnish!
posted by turducken at 9:54 AM on February 26, 2010


I absolutely do want the nuts in the shells. They are for testing in a de-shelling machine. We are well aware they are irritating. Thanks Lazlo, I have written to this vendor. I know there are also some farms in Hawaii, but they are hard to track down online.
posted by Eringatang at 10:03 AM on February 26, 2010


Bolognius, that would be very helpful! I have sent an e-mail to your hotmail account listed in your profile. Thank you!
posted by Eringatang at 10:06 AM on February 26, 2010


Perhaps contacting the College of Tropical Agriculture at the University of Hawai'i will lead to contacts to Hawaiian cashew growers.
posted by jamaro at 10:35 AM on February 26, 2010


Even in countries where they're grown, like Brazil and India, I've never seen unshelled cashew nuts in the markets.

Just wanted to say that I've absolutely seen cashew nuts sold in their shells in India before. So they shouldn't be impossible to find.
posted by peacheater at 11:42 AM on February 26, 2010


If your in the EU these guys might sell you some. I don't know that they actually have them in the shells though. Their warehouse is next to our factory and I've looked through they windows and seen HUGE bags of nuts.
posted by Confess, Fletch at 12:57 PM on February 26, 2010


You know, I have some friends in India right now. Maybe they can help me out. And thanks for the Tropical Ag link!
posted by Eringatang at 1:28 PM on February 26, 2010


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