Not all those who wander are lost.

Macadamia 101 – All You Ever Wanted to Know About a Nut

Since we arrived in New Zealand during the winter months, we were eager to find a place to plant ourselves and wait for the good weather.  We chose the Coromandel Peninsula, just east of Auckland, and landed on a Macadamia Orchard just in time to help with the harvest.

Didn’t you know that macadamia nuts are harvested in winter?  Yah, me neither.

Along with that little tidbit, we learned an incredible amount about the Macadamia in the 2 months we were on the Orchard.  I thought I’d post some of my favorite macadamia trivia, just in case anyone was curious:

  • Harvesting macadamias is every 7-year-old boy’s dream job. Grab a rake, climb a tree, and hit/scrape the nuts off their stem so that they fall onto the nets below.
  • Raw macadamia tastes a lot like coconut.
  • Macadamia Oil is a perfect substitute for butter in baking cookies and bread but is also called “liquid gold” due to its high cost.
  • The tree takes over one full year to produce the nuts. So while you harvest, you have to be careful not to damage the flowers for next year’s crop.
  • There is an outer shell, called the husk, which must be removed within 24 hours or the nut starts to germinate (go to seed).
  • Once the nuts are husked, they must be dried until they lose ~25% of their weight, a process which takes at least a week.
  • The shell of the nut is impossibly difficult to remove.  We’ve heard of people putting the nut in a vise and then hitting it with a hammer. The couple on the orchard had fashioned a special sort of crank to do the job. Moana, the farm’s Jack-Russell Terrier, held the nut in her mouth until the shell softened enough to crack…dogs are fascinatingly intelligent.
  • Macadamia crusted fish and scallops are to die for.  As are Fred’s Chocolate Macadamia Brownies.
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2 responses

  1. Katie, I just had a wonderful vicarious experience going through all of your “arches around the world” photos. What a remarkable and beautiful array of locations — and what a truly personal and inventive way to capture your adventures! BTW it’s finally raining in California. We need it!

    — Sue

    November 23, 2013 at 12:02 am

    • Ciao Sue! It’s always an interesting topic of conversation, especially when Eugenio’s not around and I have to ask a stranger to take the photo for me 🙂 I’ll get the album uploaded to my blog soon, and I’ve got some new ones to add. Enjoy the autumn rain and crisp air – SF is heaven this time of year! Happy Thanksgiving!

      November 25, 2013 at 8:28 am

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