Food Q&A: Where Can I Buy Raw Cashews, Cheap?

Good enough for me. Imposter 'raw' cashews from Trader Joe's.

This was from a friend of mine, a fellow Brooklynite, who is trying to eat well on a budget. I am a huge fan of that so I did the best I could recommending some local, NY sources.

Anita,

I bought a fancy juicer to do a homemade variant of the BluePrint cleanse, and I want to make the cashew nut milk to drink at night (it’s super good). I took your advice and used a touch of coconut oil to make it super smooth, but [the recipe] uses A LOT of raw cashews. Where do you buy yours? They’re pretty pricey when you’re buying small amounts at the supermarket.

Daniel

Daniel,

If you use a touch of coconut cream it is even better! I have three sources for cashews. The fast & easy one is Trader Joe’s. You can get a one pound bag of raw cashews for $5.50.

Pan Asian Foods, on Grand Street, is a wholesaler that also sells to the public. You can buy raw cashews by the pound. The price is slightly less than TJ’s (UPDATE: see comments!), they are in the neighborhood (Williamsburg), and they have a really sweet 7 ft tall buddha shrine. The drawback is that their hours are sporadic and they usually close before 5pm.

Offerings for the Gods. Pan Asian Foods is also a great resource for impossible-to-find fresh ingredients like young ginger, kaffir lime leaves and young coconuts by the case!

The last, and cheapest, is an Indian grocery called Subzi Mandi in Jackson Heights. You can buy a 4 lb. bag of broken cashew pieces for about $14 (UPDATE: 3.5 lb bag for $12, or 2 lb bag for $9). I do not go often, because it is kind of a trek. I wait until I’m in need of 4-5 bulk ingredients and then go (spices, dried fruit, nuts and gluten-free flours are all cheap/good there).

As a footnote, please keep in mind that none of the cashews I mentioned here are 100% raw. All commercially sold cashews are steamed or boiled to remove the shell. If you are looking for “truly raw” cashews, there are plenty of health food distributors who claim to be the only source.

I took a peek at some of the sites for these distributors and it seems like they go to painstaking efforts to process their cashews. It seems like a lot of fuss for a few degrees difference. If it counts for anything, I’ve found an occasional sprouted cashew amongst my cheaper ones (after being soaked), which means they are somewhat alive, still. Also, the ecological cost of packaging and shipping holier-than-thou cashews kind of offsets their purity.

Let me know if you try any of these stores and how they work out!
Anita

Ladies in India remove cashew husks at a factory. Travel photo via mosseandlemur.com.

  1. Wow, you’re a cashew ninja. The Jackson heights place would probably be the best, and I’d have an excuse to eat amazing Indian food. I’m paying about $5 per little deli tub so the others would probably be fine. I’m not so worried about them being super raw, I just want to be able to soak and blend them with a little bit of coconut oil. I have no idea what coconut cream even is, but damn it sounds good.

    • Coconut cream is hard to describe. It is at the crossroads of coconut oil, coconut flour and the solid stuff you see in a can of coconut milk when you don’t shake it. It smells incredible, tastes good too, and has a similar texture to refrigerated butter. Some vegans, especially raw vegans, use it in place of butter for recipes. It is available at natural stores, health food stores and some fancy grocery stores, but it is also pretty pricey. So I buy it at an Indian market. Most recently, I found it at Foods of India (121 Lexington Ave) in Curry Hill for $7 per 10oz. jar. I bet at Subzi Mandi it is even cheaper :)

  2. That sounds about right!! I can not wait to go back there! I need to pick up some cashews, kaffir lime leaves, young ginger and alphonso mango!

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