The green shell around the cashew seed (and possibly the skin of the seed too) contains a chemical compound called urushiol (also found in Poison Ivy). Urushiol, is a clear liquid, and causes allergic reactions to the skin if touched or consumed. Once it’s absorbed into the skin, it’s too late to wash off with soap and water, and causes the immune system to respond to the exposed area. To remove urushiol from the end product, cashews still in their shells are steamed open. The cashew industry calls these steamed cashews raw when they really are describing unroasted.
Truly raw cashews require a much slower process of “hand-cracking” with special tools to extract the seed from the hard shell without contaminating them, and the skin around the seed is then polished off. Nutti-Milk promotes cashews in its Shop produced in Indonesia by process. Whenever possible we promote sustainability in harvesting, fair-trade, organic and raw!