The different steps involved in Cashew processing using Steam boiling:
- Steaming – The in-shell cashews are steamed under pressure to soften the shell. This causes the cashews inside to become loose and easier to remove in time.
- Shelling – Each cashew shell is split open longitudinally and the cashew inside is immediately taken out by hand.
- Drying – The skin on cashews is dried in an oven at low heat for a few hours to loosen the skin.
- Peeling – The skin of each cashew is removed by hand and the cashew is simultaneously visually graded according to quality.
- Grading – The whole cashew kernels are individually graded by hand according to count per pound. Cashews are graded on how white they are and how broken the kernel is. There are four color grades, four styles of break on the kernel and six sizes (or maximum number of kernels per pound). Nowadays grading machines are used for grading.
- Quality Inspection – The cashews of each grade are inspected according to the present quality standards for that grade.
- Quality Control – The Cashew kernels are then put through a set of quality assurance measures like heating in an oven, metal detection, dust aspiration and handpicking conveyor.
- Packing – The Cashew Kernels are packed in 50-pound (22.68 kg) multilayer barrier pouches in a modified atmosphere of low oxygen and high carbon dioxide and nitrogen. These pouches are placed one each in a carton.
The Cashew Nut Kernels are graded according to their size, shape and colour, as Wholes, Splits, Broken, Butts, Scorched butts etc. Wholes are again classified as W180, W240, W320, W450 etc., according to the number of whole kernels per pound (0.45 kg). The edible cashew nuts are available in around 26 – 33 different grades. The Wholes are sold as snack food while the split nuts are generally used as ingredients in other foodstuff.