Why Aren't Cashews Sold in Their Shells?

Posted on March 12, 2021 at 3:27 PM by Tom Swegle

Graphic of Outdoor Joe's Mascot, Outdoor Joe reading a letter while nuts, mangos, and poison ivy rain down around him

What Do Cashews, Mangoes, and Poison Ivy Have in Common?

Every month, Outdoor Joe, our Outdoor and Poison Ivy Pro, receives tons of letters emails, and carrier pigeon messages asking various questions about poison ivy. When he's not too busy studying the plant in the wild, he reads through them and picks the very best to feature right here in the "Dear Outdoor Joe" series! This month's letter comes from an avid fan who is trying to stay healthy while also staving off the threat of that nasty rash caused by poison ivy... from other sources!


Dear Outdoor Joe,


I use your Rhus Tox homeopathic product every month and am very pleased with it!  Have had great success!


Here is a question I’ve been pondering- and realized that you may have an opinion -based on your research and experience.


I have been avoiding cashew products after reading about the possibility of a cross reaction in those allergic to poison ivy.  I’ve also heard that that only is a risk for those coming into contact with the shells.  I am dairy and gluten free, so anything that I can add to my diet is welcome! 


Any experience with or thoughts about cashew products (butter, milk, ice cream, yogurt)?  I currently use almond milk with no problem.  Poison ivy, terbutaline sulfate, bananas and vanilla are my sensitivities.


Thank you and I hope you are weathering this wild year as best as possible.


-Liz M.


Hi Liz,

Joe is a tough dude. He was recently spotted all over a wooded area in deep snow (See below) in preparation for something he is calling the "Outdoor Joe's Great Outdoor Treasure Hunt" so we're pretty sure he's weathering the wild year just fine. As for your question, Good ol' Joe had to do a bit of digging on this one, but always the adventurer, he's never one to shy away from a challenge! Never fear, Joe is here!Image of the Outdoor Joe's Mascot, Outdoor Joe, as a superhero.

The Cashews, Mangos, Pistachios, and Poison Ivy Connection

You may know that cashews, mangos, pistachios, and poison ivy all belong to the Anacardiaceae family of trees. Other members of the family include Peruvian pepper, poison oak, and poison sumac.

Another commonality is that they all contain urushiol, the nasty, sticky, icky oil that seeps into the skin and causes unwanted rashes and reactions. Urushiol is hard to get rid of, stays active after the plant is dead, and can even be transferred by a dog, cat, or bird if one of your pets happens to rub up against it!

The good news is it can be washed off with the right strategy and has been proven to be less effective if one builds their resistance to the substance with... well... you guessed it, Outdoor Joe's® Poison Ivy Pro!

Back to the Nuts...

Urushiol is found on the outer shells of cashews so the nut is usually sold shell-less and the nut is roasted at super high temps to make sure (well, as sure as one can be) that any remaining urushiol that may have penetrated the shell is gone long before consumption. Because the urushiol is found on the outer shell, it is unlikely that products that contain cashews present a threat. Keep in mind, Ol' Joe is a Poison Ivy Pro, but not a Doctor, so it may be a good idea to talk to a dietitian or your doctor before you say "Bon Appetit!" if you're not sure.

As for those pleasant pistachios, they can still cause a poisonous reaction. That said, processed nuts are usually boiled. If you're worried, there is no harm in boiling them again.

Are Mangos Dangerous?

Here's the thing about Mangos: The skin (rind) of the mango contains urushiol but the actual pulp of the fruit doesn't. In other words, if you have strong reactions to poison ivy, it may be a good idea to have a friend peel the fruit for you or don some disposable gloves. You also may want to avoid taking a nap in a mango grove. Better yet, avoid mango groves altogether. We've been told that people who are extremely allergic to mango urushiol have been known to break into a rash from simply catching the scent of the mango blossom!

We hope this helps! Until next time, safe snacking!

With Love,

Outdoor Joe®



Want to tell Joe how much you love Outdoor Joe's® or got a burning question for the Good ol' Poison Ivy Pro?

Send Joe an email and you might just get featured in our next "Dear Outdoor Joe®" post! 

Want to avoid getting poison ivy-related rashes?

Get Outdoor Joe’s®


Want to get rid of the rash and get relief?

Get Zanfel


There are no comments yet.
Add Comment

* Indicates a required field