Harvesting and processing cashew kernels is expensive and time-consuming, as each cashew apple forms only one kernel. This makes cashews expensive compared to other fruits and nuts.
Although cashew apples fall from the tree alone as soon as they are ripe, they spoil very quickly afterwards. Therefore, the cashew farmers harvest the cashew apples in unripe condition, but the quality suffers from this. After harvesting, the nut is separated from the apples and traditionally dried in the sun. Nowadays, however, mechanical heat is also used. Once the cashews are dried, they are roasted to remove the poisonous shell. Depending on the process, the quality may suffer.
However, the harvest of cashews also has its downsides: The working conditions of the harvest workers are anything but good. They are paid very poorly, have to inhale the poisonous fumes produced during roasting and child labour is nothing unusual with the cashew harvest. Therefore, you should pay attention to a Fairtrade label and if possible also to an organic seal.