This concise guide to macadamia nuts shares buying and storage tips, common ways to use them, how to roast them, and lists links to delectable vegan recipes, both sweet and savory.
The macadamia nut tree is a rapidly growing, moderately-sized, evergreen tree with dark green, thick leaves. Macadamia trees are native to Australia and can only be found occurring naturally in northern New South Wales and southern Queensland. However, they are now grown in other places, like New Zealand, Costa Rica, Brazil, and Hawaii.
Gympie, a tiny town in Queensland, is thought to be the original source of about 70 percent of the globe’s macadamia trees. Today, Hawaii harvests 90 percent of all macadamia nuts.
Not surprisingly, these high-fat nuts are valued for their oil. The oil is used in shampoos, sunscreens, and soaps in the cosmetic sector, more so in Japan. Nourish your skin and pamper your hair with macadamia nut oil. Because the skin easily absorbs macadamia nut oil due to its lightweight competence, it is a wonderful, natural, nourishing moisturizer for dry skin and hair. In addition, it is seen to help mature skin.
The macadamia nut tree’s principal product is the kernel, or nut. The husks that cover the nuts are removed after harvesting.
These tree nuts mature all through the spring and fall, and all year round. They have a buttery, subtle flavor and creamy texture. The nuts have a firm, smooth and very hard shell that protects a white kernel, or nut, inside. Macadamia nuts are considered the hardest nut to crack! We’ll be getting to that in a bit.
Buying & Storage
The best macadamia nuts are smooth, fresh, and devoid of pest degradation. The best nuts contain seventy-two percent fat content at minimum. Nuts with a little less than 72 percent oils are commonly young and tougher, and when roasted, they turn too brown. The super-hard shell contains two hemispherical nuts or one spherical nut.
One thing is for sure — macadamia nuts are expensive! They may be among the most expensive nuts to buy, rivaling or surpassing pine nuts for being pricey. The current average is $22 to $25 per pound, with shells removed.
If you purchase them already shelled, they’ll cost about twice as much as they would if you buy them in the shell. But then, you’re paying for the hard, weighty shells, so really, it may be a wash. Purchasing in the shell will keep them fresher for a longer time.
Macadamia nuts can be purchased at specialty groceries or natural foods stores, or from online grocery and gourmet food stores. You can buy them either whole or crushed, roasted or unroasted, raw, salted or unsalted.
They can be bought packaged or in bulk. One good source is nuts.com, for example, where you can explore the various ways they can be purchased.
There are too many sources to list here, so do a search on “where to buy macadamia nuts” and you’ll find online sources as well as those in your local area.
They can be stored for up to four weeks in a dry, cool area, such as a pantry. Because of their high oil content, if you keep them for more than a month, you should refrigerate them to avoid rancidity, maintain freshness, and increase their shelf life.
They may be kept in the refrigerator for a maximum of six months. Alternatively, you can store them in a heavy-duty freezer bag or an airtight container and freeze them for up to a year.
For other varieties, see our handy Guide to Nuts
Like most other nuts, macadamia nuts are abundant in nutrients, including good fats. Over 75% of the fat found in these nuts is monounsaturated, or a “good fat.”
They also contain manganese, magnesium, iron, thiamine, vitamin B6, and a high amount of copper. They’re a good source of protein and dietary fiber. With a low glycemic index, they contain slightly more than 1g of natural sugar.
They have been associated to a variety of health benefits, including blood sugar control, weight management, better digestion, and improved cardiovascular health. In addition, they include certain types of MUFAs (monounsaturated fatty acids), which aren’t frequently found in other foods.
Macadamia nuts have a superior fat content than other popular nuts, for instance, almonds, cashews, and walnuts. Macadamias have the lowest omega-3 to omega-6 ratio (1:6) compared to other nuts, which is essential since many Western diets are in danger of obtaining too much Omega-6 and not enough Omega-3. See a complete view of the nutrition information for macadamia nuts.
How to crack this tough nut (actually, you don’t have to)
As mentioned earlier, macadamia nuts, with their super hard shell, are arguably the toughest nut to crack. This is why they’re often purchased already shelled. The good news is that macadamias in the shell are now often marketed with a fine crack; a key-like metal object is provided with them. It needs only to be inserted into the fissure and turned slightly (see the photo above). These are sometimes known as “easy-open” macadamias.
If the macadamias you buy in the shell aren’t pre-cracked in this way, you’ve got quite a project ahead of you — get out your vise grip and hammer! Here’s a tutorial you can follow listing several methods for cracking the hard shells without damaging the tender nut inside. Or not; make your life easier with shelled or easy-open macadamias.
How to roast macadamia nuts
Roasting the nuts before using them in recipes can heighten the flavor and give a lovely textural and aromatic aspect to recipes. Follow these simple steps to roast them:
On a parchment-lined baking sheet, arrange the shelled nuts in one layer. Then, place them in a preheated oven at 350°F for 12 to 15 minutes, until they’ve turned golden brown and aromatic. Allow the nuts to cool completely to room temperature before grinding or chopping them, or simply enjoying whole as a snack.
Common ways to use macadamia nuts
Pastries of all kinds: Macadamia nuts are used as an ingredient in the pastries. Macadamia nuts’ rich flavor and amazing mouth feel makes them perfect for use in baked goods, particularly cookie dough and pie crusts. They can be ground down to use as a flour, too.
Dairy duplicator: These nuts’ high good-fat composition and creamy texture is perfect for turning into delectable plant-based dairy substitutes ranging from cheese and butter to sour cream and ice cream.
Chocolate-covered and snack nuts: Macadamias sometimes are prepared as chocolate-covered candies and as sweet-savory snack nuts.
Nut milk: It’s easy to make nut milk from macadamias, though quite a luxury, being that they’re such an expensive ingredient. Here’s a recipe for Macadamia Nut Milk.
Links to Vegan Recipes
- Macadamia Nut, Chocolate, & Espresso No-Bake Brownies
- Lime Coconut and Macadamia Granola
- Grilled Banana and Macadamia Milk Vegan Ice Cream
- Sea Salt Coconut Macadamia Truffles
- Raw Creamy Macadamia Nut Cheese
- Vegan Macadamia Mascarpone Frosting
- Lemon Glazed Macadamia Nut Cookies
- Creamy Vegan Tomato Macadamia Pasta
- Easy Vegan Macadamia Nut Brussels Sprouts
- Macadamia Vegan Carbonara
- Vegan Macadamia Cream Cheese
- Baked Macadamia Feta
- Roasted Root Vegetables
See more of this site’s Good Food Guides.