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Shea nuts are the edible seeds of the West African shea tree (Vitellaria paradoxa). Shea butter is derived from the fruit of the shea tree, which contains a nut. Shea nuts are around the size of a small avocado and have a hard, woody shell. Shea nuts have been used for millennia by West African people for their nutritional and therapeutic benefits. They are high in lipids and proteins, as well as vitamins and minerals such as vitamin E, magnesium, and calcium. Shea nuts contain antibacterial and anti-inflammatory qualities in addition to their nutritional value. During the dry season, when the fruit has ripened, shea nuts are picked from the shea tree. Shea butter is extracted by crushing and roasting the nuts to release the oils, which are then boiled and separated from the sediments. Shea nuts are also utilised in a variety of traditional African recipes, including soups and stews. The nuts are cooked and mashed into a paste before being added to the dish to thicken and flavour it.
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