Here you go…
- The first thing is to feel the weight of the nut - if it seems "light" compared to others there will be little water left inside.
- Select only the one which has, on being shaken, a robust splashing sound indicative of plenty of water.
- Next examine the soft eye, seeking advice on how to distinguish it from the two "blind" eyes. Remember that the shell is usually slightly raised around one side of blind eye.
- Note also that there are three "stripes" on the nut, which come together between the three eyes.
- The angle between the two stripes closest to the soft eye is much wider than the other two angles. If the embryo is exposed or protruding in any way through the soft eye, reject the nut as infection and spoilage of the kernel is likely.
- Infection which enters through the soft eye spreads very quickly inside the cavity of the nut. The nut water and the inner surface of the kernel make this a very favourable place for "bugs".
- Look carefully for any discolouration on the soft eye when choosing a nut -it is normally covered by a circular dry brown disc.
- Look at the whole nut for signs of patchy staining which might have come about if there is a fracture in the shell allowing moisture to seep out.
- "Old" ones have a greyish look instead of brown.
- Fresh mature ones have a shelf life of perhaps two months at moderate or low temperature.
- The delay between collection from a farm and presentation in an urban market can sometimes be longer than two months, and a proportion of nuts is generally unsuitable for consumption.
- Cool storage suppresses the activity of micro-organisms, keeping the nut fresh for longer, and freezing has been shown to work on a small scale.
- Defrosted kernel is softer, having lost some of the crispness of the fresh kernel. This makes shredding in a blender or juicereasier.