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What Is Cashew Oil?

Christina Edwards
Christina Edwards

Cashew oil is an edible cooking oil made from cashew nuts. These tropical nuts are first shelled and dried. The skins are then removed, and the nuts are pressed to release the oil. Cashew oil is considered a very high quality cooking oil, and it is often considered to be healthier than other types of cooking oil. Cashew nutshell oil can also be extracted, but this is toxic.

The cashew tree is native to Brazil, but it can now be found growing in many tropical regions across the globe, including India, Africa, and parts of Asia. The nut produced by this tree is located on the bottom of the sweet fruit of the tree, known as the cashew apple. It is a very popular nut around the world, but it is also a little more expensive than other types of nuts.

A raw cashew.
A raw cashew.

Extracting cashew oil is a long process, since most of it is done by hand. The nuts are first removed from the bottom of the fruit. They can then be roasted or dried in an oven. This process helps remove some of the volatile shell oil, and it makes the shells brittle and easy to break open.

Before making cashew oil, the shells and skins must first be removed. The oil in cashew shells is very toxic to humans, and it can also damage the skin. Many workers cover their hands with ashes to absorb this oil. The shell is then usually cracked with a mallet, and the cashew nut is removed. Some mechanical devices may also be used to cut the shell off of the nut.

After the shell is removed, cashew nuts are often roasted again. This process helps dry the thin skin surrounding the nut. The skin can then be easily removed by rubbing the nut between the fingers.

Cashew oil can then be extracted from the cashew nuts after the skin is removed. The oil is obtained by crushing the cashew nuts. This can be done with a hydraulic or mechanical press, similar to a wine press.


Due to this long process done primarily by hand, cashew oil is often more expensive than regular cooking oil, but it also has several benefits. Cashew oil has an abundance of vitamins, including vitamins A, D, and E. It is also rich in protein and fatty acids, which are needed for energy. This oil is also used in the production of certain cosmetics.

The oil that is located in the cashew nutshell may also be carefully extracted during this process. This oil is considered to be toxic, and it may be used in the production of paint. It may also be used as a brake fluid additive.

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Discussion Comments


Can we use cashew nut oil as a cooking oil?


I had no idea that the oil in cashew shells was so toxic. I'll make sure to be careful about this in the future. Especially if I find myself handling cashews.


Does anyone know if cashew oil is as expensive as olive oil? A while back, I was reading an article about Greek olives, and it talked about how the oil (extracted) from the olives is actually what we call olive oil.

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    • A raw cashew.
      By: Vinicius Tupinamba
      A raw cashew.
    • Cashews.
      By: Shariff Che'Lah
    • Tropical cashews are high in saturated fat.
      By: JJAVA
      Tropical cashews are high in saturated fat.
    • The oils from and nuts grown on oriental, or Indian, cashew trees are believed to have medicinal qualities.
      By: Yogesh More
      The oils from and nuts grown on oriental, or Indian, cashew trees are believed to have medicinal qualities.