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Mezze is widely served in the Greek and Middle eastern world. An assortment of little dishes and tasters which accompany a nice ouzo or a glass of wine. So when you read mezze moments you will have tasty snippets of life as I live it, India for four years and now Brisbane Australia, all served up with some Greek fervour and passion.

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Wednesday, 27 October 2010

Crunching cashews

We all love them. When we are on those long flights crunching away on cashews, while sipping our drinks, we consider them a bit of a luxury and on this trip to Thailand I found out why.

Cashews grow on a bushy big tree with orange-yellow fruits which produces the kernels of nuts.What I did n't know was the painstaking work that needs to go in to producing the nuts as we know them.

Cashew nuts produce a caustic acid which can burn the skin, and noxious fumes when heated. Workers are sometimes given oil to cover their hands, but this only gives limited protection; others are given gloves, but they wear out quickly and are not favoured by workers paid on a piece rate because they affect dexterity and slow down work.  Workers shelling cashew nuts can produce between 5 and 10kg of nuts per day.The cashew kernels are roasted and then they are carefully prised open one by one to produce the nut inside.
 Each nut is placed on this giant nut cracker and the worker pushes a blade into the seal of the shell and prises it apart to extract the nut inside. They are then categorized, whole ones in one basket and broken ones in another. The work is painstakingly slow and difficult, not to mention dangerous.
The roasted nuts in their shells.
So next time you sit there devouring them, spare a thought for the workers who produce them for you and make sure you buy ones where the workers are fairly rewarded for the work they do.India is one of the biggest producers of cashew nuts in the world.

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