Written By Kevin Kapusi Starow
A well-known, loved and prized nut that is commonly associated with the pacific Island of Hawaii. Though unfortunately many people do not realise the nut is actually a native of Australia, which was exported to Hawaii back in 1882, where it was eventually used as a commercial crop, and eventual fame. The nut is the fruit of a particular tree indigenous to Australia in particular northern NSW through to south eastern and central Queensland.
In the local indigenous languages the nut is called bauple, gyndi, and boombera. It was given the name Macadamia by a German –Australian botanist back in 1857, Ferdinand von Muller. Who named the fruit after a friend of his a Dr. John Macadam a Scottish – Australian chemist and medical teacher of the time.
The local indigenous tribes have been using the fruit for a very long time, and it is difficult to know exactly when they were first used. Though aboriginal elder King Jacky reportedly harvested the fruit and traded it with settlers as early as the 1860’s. In or around 1888 the first commercial orchard of macadamia nut trees was planted by Charles Staff at Rouse Hill, outside of Lismore in New South Wales. Though it was not until around 1916 that the first plantations began appearing in Queensland, which began on a trial basis, obviously to see if there was a market for the product. Then in 1931 the first processing plant was established in Hawaii by the Hawaiian Macadamia Nut Co. It was not until the 1940 that the first processing plant in Australia was established and from then on production increased in both countries. Though it was not until 1997 when Australia surpassed the United States as the major producer of macadamia nut products.
The macadamia nut is a versatile beast suitable for use in desserts, as an appetiser, a snack for main courses, entrée the uses are endless. We feature a few recipes in this edition for you to follow, which may challenge your thinking in regards to this well-known ingredient. Perhaps you have a secret use for the nut of your own which is a family winner, which we encourage you to send through to us, and we will feature it in our next issue.
The macadamia nuts are a rich source of essential nutrients such as magnesium, iron, thiamine, and manganese. They are low in protein though high in fats, in particular monounsaturated fats, and the beneficial Omega 7.
Though the nut is beneficial for humans they are toxic to dogs resulting in paralysis, weakness and tremors usually within 24 hours. Medication may be required, with recovery usually taking anywhere between 24 to 48 hours.