If you are a fan of cashew nuts, you may have noticed they don’t always look the same.
Many people don’t realize that there are many different types of cashew nuts.
We have put together the different types and some general information about cashew nuts so you can find the perfect nut for you!
Types of Cashew Nuts
Here are the most common types of cashew nuts available.
Although each of the cashew nuts we will discuss is still going to be considered a cashew, some are known to be better than others.
At the top of the list is the W-180 because this is the largest and most expensive available.
The different types of cashew nuts are really like grades.
The grade of the cashew will tell you things about the coloring, the size, and the pricing as well.
In total, there are 33 different grades of cashew nuts, but only 26 are available for people to purchase.
The W-180 is sometimes referred to as the King of cashews.
This is because of its size and the fact that it remains wholly intact when sold.
The W-210 is going to be smaller than the W-180.
These are still very large nuts and will also cost quite a bit of extra money.
The W-210 cashews are often referred to as Jumbo size.
They fall slightly behind the King, but these are still known and recognized as being very large cashews.
Moving down another step in size, you will come across the W-240.
These are the mid-grade cashew known as the standard size cashew.
These cashews are very commonly seen in nut mixes where the cashew is not the star of the show.
They will have a medium type price tag, and although they still look good, they are not nearly as big as a King or Jumbo cashew.
The great thing about the W240 is this is where you will see the pricing of the cashews start to drop.
The W-240 is considerably less expensive than the W-180 or W-240.
The W-320 is the easiest cashew nut to find and the most widely sold and distributed.
The W-320 offers the perfect balance between size and cost, and they are what the majority of consumers are comfortable with.
The size is large enough, but the pricing makes them much more appealing to the general consumer.
The W-450 is the last of the whole size cashews.
These are very inexpensive when compared to King Cashews, but the difference is size is going to be very noticeable.
The W-450 is quite popular because of their cheap pricing, and once you move down from the W-450, that is when you start talking about pieces of cashews.
If you know you want the whole cashew but don’t want to spend a lot, the W-450 is a great choice to consider.
6. Scorched Wholes
You may also see cashews called scorched cashews.
The scorched cashews are those that are a light brown color.
The light brown cashew was roasted slightly longer than the white ones, and it results in a darker brown color.
The scorched type cashews are sometimes sold in pieces and, other times, sold in wholes as well.
Now that we have discussed all of the whole cashews, it’s time to move to the different ways cashews are sold.
The whole cashew is not the only way to purchase one.
You can also get pieces of cashews.
The different types of pieces or kernels are called butts, splits, and halves.
These are generally used in a trail mix or as a topping or baking ingredient.
Since these are not whole cashews, then they will be priced lower than the other options we have listed.
Are Cashew Nuts Good for You?
Cashew nuts have a great taste to them, and they are very easy to eat, many people wonder if they are healthy.
Cashew nuts have carbohydrates, proteins, calcium, phosphorous, iron, and other vitamins in them as well.
Overall, the nuts are very healthy, and they are good fat for people to consume.
Of course, for a perfect diet, all things should be consumed in moderation.
The cashew nuts make for a healthy snack, but their caloric value can be relatively high if you don’t watch your intake.
Always be aware of what has been done to your cashew nuts after the roasting process.
Have they been covered in salt?
Indeed, the added salt is going to take away some of the nutritional value and add a ton of sodium.
If you are trying to add more cashews to your diet because of their nutritional value than you should consider options with no salt.
Why Are Cashew Nuts Expensive?
Most of the time, when you find a product that is more expensive than another, there is a legitimate reason behind this.
When it comes to cashews, the reason behind the expense is, without a doubt, a reflection of the harvesting process.
Harvesting cashews is so complicated and dangerous that it can be hard to understand how this nut was made part of mainstream diets to begin with.
Here are some of the steps involved in getting cashew to the point of being edible.
Step 1: Steam
When the cashew comes off of the tree, it needs to be steamed in a large pot.
The cashew steams for a few hours, and then it is laid out to dry.
Step 2: Drying
If you don’t correctly dry a cashew nut after it comes out of a steamer, then you won’t get the whole pieces.
Whole pieces are much more profitable for people to sell, so they want to maintain as much of the true cashew shape as possible.
The cashew should completely dry before moving to the next step, so this usually takes at least 24 hours.
Step 3: Cracking and Peeling
After the cashews have dried, they are going to be much easier to crack.
The dry cashews are also much less likely to break apart than a steamed cashew that is still wet.
When the cashew nut is cracked, there is an acid or oil inside the shell.
This acid is something that many humans are highly allergic to.
If you have ever had poison ivy, the acid from the cashew nut will cause a very similar reaction.
People who work with cashew nuts and harvesting have to make sure they stay protected while they are working on this process.
When the cashew nut is cracked, it will still need to have the shell peeled away before revealing the internal nut.
For workers who are having to peel the cashew nut, this work is the most dangerous.
Having your hands exposed to this at all times is very dangerous.
In addition to wearing gloves, some workers may oil their hands to work as a protection against the acid released from the shell of the nut.
Step 4: Roasting
Once the cashew nut is released from its shell, it needs to be roasted.
The roasting process helps get the outer peel off of the nut.
Without roasting, it would be challenging to remove this peel.
When the cashews come out of the roasting process, they will be brown in color.
When they are peeled, they are going to be white and will appear how most people are accustomed to purchasing the cashew.
As you can see, there are quite a few steps involved in this process.
The process is also a bit slow, as it takes several days to get through all of the steps.
The combination of labor with the dangerous nature of the project is partly what adds to the cost of these nuts.
How Are Cashews Grown?
Cashews are grown on trees.
Many people think they grow in a cashew apple, but this is not true.
A cashew apple is a fruit that grows from the tree, and the cashew hangs from the cashew apple.
The cashew is technically the seed of the cashew apple.
When a cashew apple is first picked from the tree, it is separated from the cashew.
The cashew apple does not last very long once the seed is disconnected to start its harvesting process.
The cashew apple is not utilized nearly as much as it could be.
With the cashew nut being the predominant money maker, many of the cashew apples get entirely wasted.
The cashew apples can be useful for people as they offer plenty of vitamins and minerals.
In fact, a cashew apple has more vitamin c than oranges.
Since the cashew apple needs to be used relatively quickly after it is picked, it is sometimes cooked into curries, or made into an alcoholic drink or preserves.
There are lots of possibilities for cashew apples, but they are just not as commonly used as the cashew nut.
What Are the Most Expensive Nuts?
Nuts are expensive.
As we have seen with the cashew nuts, the harvesting process can be a bit dangerous and time-consuming.
For cashew farmers to make money, they need to charge high prices for their products.
However, the cashew nut is not the most expensive nut on the market.
The macadamia nut is the most expensive nut in the world.
The macadamia nut can retail for more than $25.00 per pound.
One of the reasons behind this nut being so expensive is that it can only be harvested a few times per year.
Another problem with the macadamia nut harvesting is that it takes seven to ten years to get a tree to the age that it can produce nuts.
This is a long time, and farmers need to make a large investment before they can produce for mass consumption.
The macadamia nuts have a thick shell, and it must be removed before they are sold.
Similar to the cashew and the work needed to harvest, this will undoubtedly add to the cost of the macadamia.
Most people don’t know there are several types of cashews.
You may have thought it was the luck of the draw to get a large, medium, or small size cashew.
The price you pay for cashews has everything to do with the grade of cashew you are buying.
Knowing the difference between the different cashew grades can help you to get a deal the next time you are shopping for some.
Even though the cashew can be expensive, you can see that the advanced harvesting process is certainly what adds to their cost.