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Old 04-25-2014, 07:55 AM   #1
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Did you know? "Raw" cashews!

I'd heard that it wasn't safe to eat raw cashews - I had picked up a bag at Trader Joe's that said "raw cashews" - so looked it up. Who knew? Not poisonous after all!

From WiseGeek:

"Unless you happen to work in a cashew plant or pick cashew apples, it’s unlikely you’ll encounter completely raw cashews. The so-called raw cashews sold in natural food stores are not exactly raw, but instead are steamed. It is the case that the double shell surrounding the raw cashew, which is technically a seed and not a nut, contains urushiol, a resin that can create significant skin rashes, and can be toxic when ingested.

Urushiol is the same chemical found in poison ivy, and it is present on the leaves of the cashew tree as well as in the raw cashew shell. Processing raw cashews can be a laborious and nightmarish ordeal, and people who work in cashew processing plants tend to exhibit greater allergies to cashew shells over time. There is a high incidence of skin rashes among people who either harvest or process raw cashews. Greater sensitivity to urushiol can lead to extreme allergic reaction when raw cashews are ingested, and anyone allergic to poison ivy could potentially have a fatal reaction to eating true raw cashews.

This is why we don’t eat strictly raw cashews. Even the “unroasted’ varieties are steamed to release urushiol from the nut and make it safe to eat. Certainly, those raw cashews sold as raw have been processed to remove urushiol, so there is no danger in consuming them. As nuts and seeds go, safely prepared cashews actually cause very few allergies, especially when compared to nuts like walnuts or legumes like peanuts."
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Old 04-25-2014, 08:33 AM   #2
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Thanks so much for posting this, Char. I think I'd heard about the "raw" cashew issues and wondered why all the Paleo folks make so many cheesecake and non-dairy foods with them. I just bought a bag at my Natural Grocers yesterday. Don't use them often, but occasionally a recipe calls for some ground or turned to butter.
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Old 04-25-2014, 02:01 PM   #3
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I did the same, Peggy - a friend gave me a vegan recipe for a creamy salad dressing made with the raw cashews. So I bought them. THEN I heard about the "poisonous" thing. Yikes!

Now I know the truth!
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Old 04-25-2014, 03:25 PM   #4
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LOL I use them all the time. But i do alot of research for foods I can eat.I soaked all the nuts I use in recipes because it is better for digestion. Thanks.I use them alot in " cheese sauces"
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Old 05-01-2014, 11:28 AM   #5
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I used soaked raw cashews in a low carb waffle recipe I make. I haven't died yet!
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Old 05-01-2014, 04:11 PM   #6
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That's because they're most likely NOT really raw!
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