All you need to know about macadamia: its origin, harvesting & manufacturing process
Updated: Feb 16, 2020
Ranked as one of the rarest, most expensive, yet, the healthiest nuts, macadamia nuts have become a high-demanding treat and trendy imported in big countries. But how much do you actually know about this high-fat treat when holding it in your fingers? This article discloses an interesting story about macadamias: where it's traced back to, processing, nutritional value and more. Read on.
The Mind-Blowing History of the Macadamia Nuts
Popular as it seems, not many consumers are aware of the macadamia nuts' origin! It started all the way from the Eastern slopes of Australia's Great Dividing Range, where the Aboriginal Australians fed on a native evergreen tree which they call "Kindal Kindal". And that is the macadamia nut tree we all know today!
The macadamias were treated as a precious delicacy and were accordingly treasured whenever they were collected. Macadamia's normal life in secret hit a new milestone when the European botanists got attracted by the dignified beauty of the trees in the rainforests of Queensland. It was then renamed after a Scottish-Australian chemist and botanist John Macadam in 1857 and introduced to Hawaii where it was planted on the Big Island. For ages, Hawaii had been leading the chart of top macadamia producers worldwide until the market was outpaced by South Africa and Australia. Other than those, Brazil, Costa Rica, Kenya, Guatemala, New Zealand, and Malawi are known to own the largest macadamia nut farms.
How Do the Macadamia Nut Trees Grow?
The macadamia nut trees are only possible to grow in tropical and frost-free regions. Macadamia Integrifolia and Macadamia Tetraphylla are the only species of macadamia to be capable of producing edible nuts. These types of macadamia nut trees in Southern California and some subtropical areas outside America like Hawaii thrive when rainfalls are consistent. The macadamias can grow from 7 up to 40 feet tall with bushy and greenish foliage. However, macadamias are usually propagated from cutting, grafting, and budding and not started from the seeds. Why is that? Macadamia trees take up to 12 years to be considered “mature" from seeds. You definitely won't be waiting this long to harvest your nuts!
So how are macadamia nuts grown and is there any requirement to keep in mind? The macadamia tree grows best in a spacious area where sunlight is accessible and free of strong wind. It needs well-draining and deep soil to grow from young. A land with rich content of clay is not suitable. Perlite or sand is more suitable to maintain the pH level around 5 – 6.5 for the soil. Moist soil by frequent watering is a crucial factor to maintain the vitality of the macadamia tree from young to when the plant matures.
How are Macadamia Nuts Harvested?
The macadamia trees bear nuts in 4 to 5 years and it takes another 8 months to have the nuts ripen. To tell when the nuts ripen, touch the skin. If it's sticky, the nut is not ripe. You definitely don't want to pick the nut at this time. Another way to know is to check the color on the inside of the macadamia husk. The stunning chocolate brown is a good sign telling that it's time to start the harvest. Otherwise, when it's white, the nuts aren't ripe yet!
A common mistake that many people seem to make is shaking the trees when harvesting the ripe nuts. Even though it may save your time, shaking brings down a large number of unripe nuts as well. The best way to harvest macadamia nuts is to place a tarp evenly all around the ground beneath the tree. Once a ripe nut falls, it comes inside the tarp. For higher hanging nuts, use a long pole to dislodge.
How are Macadamia Nuts Processed?
The processing procedure of macadamia nuts requires 5 steps. These sections are crucial to producing crunchy and flavorful nuts.
Within a day or two after the nuts fall off, pick them up and remove the husks. The longer you leave the husk on, the harder it evolves and affects the color of the shell by creating mildew, which gives the kernel a musty taste.
The nuts need to be air-dried for at least 2 weeks after being harvested to lessen the moisture content and enhance the development of oil content. The best way to air dry macadamia nuts is to place them on the racks. This way allows a great deal of air to circulate the nuts thoroughly. The air drying system is carefully controlled to dry down the nuts from a 15 – 20% moisture to a 3.5% moisture content.
The cracking process is then designed to break down the hard shell without damaging the kernel by using a burst of compressed air. Plucking the kernel is the next step which features both electronic devices as well as hand sorting inspection. This step is critical to remove the poor quality kernel. Highly aware of macadamia's sensitivity with air and light, TBK Green Food minimizes the exposing time of the kernels to the air and light within only 5 seconds. This rule is essential to preserve the original taste of the nuts from farm to table.
This is the final procedure where macadamia nuts are graded into "styles" from zero for "large whole kernel" to eight for chips and small pieces. Afterward, the kernel is vacuum-packed into foil-lined bags. This is when the macadamias are ready for distributing and stored in a climate-controlled warehouse. Depending on a certain purpose, macadamias are then added as an ingredient of biscuits, chocolates, snacks or ice cream.
Nutritional Value of the Macadamia Nuts
There is no doubt that the macadamia nuts are one of the healthiest nuts in the world, especially for those on a diet. Having high content in monounsaturated fats, the macadamias offer plenty of fibers, vitamins, and minerals to your body. There are up to 9 fundamental health benefits of macadamia nuts. You should consider adding macadamias into your daily diet.
· Increase weight loss
· Develop gut health
· Improve heart health
· Prevent disease
· Boost blood sugar regulation
· Stronger bones and teeth
· Enhance brain function
· Lower cancer risk
· Reduce inflammation
How Much Do Macadamia Nuts Cost?
Thanks to such incredible health benefits, macadamias have become the world's favorite nuts. Do you know a pound of macadamia nuts can reach up to $50.
But what makes macadamia nut price extravagant?
Multiple factors impact the price of macadamia nuts. It is known as one of the most precious nuts in the world with incredible health benefits. Other than that, the harvesting and cultivating process involved takes a great amount of time and effort that may be mind-blowing to you. Check out this article for an insight of what make macadamia nuts so expensive!
How to Buy and Store Your Macadamia Nuts?
Macadamia nuts are best consumed when they are raw and unflavored. Go for the macadamia nuts that are still in shells. The taste and nutrients are preserved. For those seeking a better and more interesting way to eat, roasted nuts are a good choice even though some of the vitamins and breaks down when roasted. Beyond that loss, roasted macadamia nuts are still a healthy snack. Amongst plenty of macadamia snacks benched in worldwide supermarkets, Superdamia is always on the top list of nut lovers. Born to captivate your taste buds, Superdamia is available in various flavors such as natural, sea-salted or aromatic herb. Haven't tried macadamia nuts before? Grab a bag of these and you'll get hooked!
Last but not least, keep them stored in a cool dry place such as a pantry if you consume them instantly. In case you're not touching them in a few weeks, freeze to prevent the fats from going rancid.
Macadamia is a healthy dessert nut that you can add in your daily meal. Its high content of fat and other nutrients can play a great role in developing your body positively. Remind the audience about some good points you've mentioned, affirmation. Make sure to have them in your pantry, both of your taste buds and body will thank you!