Fresh, raw cashews are as prized in the wild as roasted cashews are in cultivated culinary circles -- so much so they're locked away in shells rife with allergens, irritants and other poisonous compounds. Raw cashews undergo cleaning and a brief roasting to neutralize their noxious oils, but it doesn't rid them of another undesirable: tannins. Harmless but no less distasteful, raw cashews have an astringency that borders on acridity, and they need purged of tannins before cooking.
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Rinse the cashews under cool running water for several minutes -- a sieve or mesh strainer works well for holding the nuts. Next, cover the cashews in 3 to 4 inches of cold water and let them stand for at least 2 hours, but as long as overnight. Rinse the cashews and let them air dry before roasting.