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Roasting Cashew Nuts


[These cashew seeds are ready for being roasted.]

These cashew seeds are ready for being roasted.


[A fireplace is build with three stones. It is fed with firewood and dried leaves.]

A fireplace is build with three stones. It is fed with firewood and dried leaves.


[A thin metal plate is perfored with a nail, in order to serve as the roasting surface.]

A thin metal plate is perfored with a nail, in order to serve as the roasting surface.


[As the fires needs oxigen the person doing the cooking needs to air the fireplace constantly. Usually, an old hat is used for that purpose.]

As the fires needs oxigen the person doing the cooking needs to air the fireplace constantly. Usually, an old hat is used for that purpose.


[The seeds are placed on top of the plate and they began to roast.]

The seeds are placed on top of the plate and they began to roast.


[After a few minutes, they begin to turn dark and to spew their oil. This oil helps accelerate the process.]

After a few minutes, they begin to turn dark and to spew their oil. This oil helps accelerate the process.


[At some point, the seeds catch fire. This should be allowed only for a few seconds so that they don't burn.]

At some point, the seeds catch fire. This should be allowed only for a few seconds so that they don't burn.


[In order to stop roasting the seeds, the plate needs to be turned upside, so the seeds fall into the ground. If needed, dirt is thrown at them so the fire is extinguished.]

In order to stop roasting the seeds, the plate needs to be turned upside, so the seeds fall into the ground. If needed, dirt is thrown at them so the fire is extinguished.


[The roasted cashew seeds are picked up.]

The roasted cashew seeds are picked up.


[A round peeple, usually found on rivers, is used to crush the burned, outer layer so that the inner seed can be eaten.]

A round peeple, usually found on rivers, is used to crush the burned, outer layer so that the inner seed can be eaten.


[Cashew nuts almost ready to eat. Some of them still have attached a thin layer that must be removed before eating the nuts.]

Cashew nuts almost ready to eat. Some of them still have attached a thin layer that must be removed before eating the nuts.


By:

Marino Jaén Espinosa
2011-04-25

One of the more widespread traditions for Lent and Holy Week in Panama is the roasting of cashew nuts for eating or using on traditional desserts. Many families collect the nuts during our summer months (January-March), and then roast them by using an outdoors fireplace.

The complete fireplace arrange is done as follows: firewood is placed between three mid-size boulders. On top of that, a metal plate is placed. This plate, previously, has been perforated with a hammer and nails, so that fire and heat permeates from the burning wood below, to the nuts laying on top.

The whole process lasts around 15 minutes. A person needs to be constantly airing the fire with an old hat and also steering the roasting seeds with stick. After a few minutes of this, the seeds start to ooze an oil and that makes them catch fire. When they do catch fire it means that it is almost time to get them out before the nut inside completely burns.

In order to get the seeds out of the fire, you need to turn the plate upside down and away from the fireplace, so that the seeds fall in the nearby ground. If necessary, some dust needs to be thrown at them in order to completely extinguish the fire.

The last step for processing the seeds is to peel the burned outer layers in order to the to the delicious nut. Traditionally, this is done by hand using a round river peeble for crushing the seed against a concrete floor or a wood surface. After that, a thin membrane must be removed from the nut and the result is a yellowish-whitish nut that could be eaten right away or added to traditional desserts.


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