10 reasons why the macadamia is the world’s most interesting nut
We know them as a star ingredient of our Cherry Choc granola, but macadamia nuts aren’t just delicious, they’re extremely interesting (and, in some ways, downright strange)…
At Dorset Cereals we are nuts about, well, nuts – the more you learn about them, the more interesting they are. For example, here are 10 things you very probably didn’t know about macadamia nuts, including why you never see them in their shell…
1. They share a name with tarmac
Well, sort of. Both are named after Scottish scientists called John McAdam – but different ones.
John Loudon McAdam pioneered ‘macadamisation’ for smooth road surfaces (which lead to the invention of ‘tarmac’) in 1816, while in 1857 the botanist who first classified the genus Macademia named it after his friend, the Scottish-Australian scientist Dr John McAdam.
2. They’re the world’s toughest nut to crack
Quite literally. It requires an extraordinary 300lb per square inch of pressure to break into a macadamia, which is why you hardly ever get to buy them in their shells.
3. It takes a big parrot to open one
Hyacinth macaw parrots are one of the very few animals with the beak-power and shape to crack the tough shell of a macadamia and get at the seed. Here’s a video of how they do it.
4. But you can open them with a key
One Australian company did however find a way to produce openable shell-on macadamias for human consumption. They cleverly roast the nuts and then saw a slit into the shell, which the happy nut-lover can open with a specially-provided metal key.
5. Hawaiians are nuts about them
Although the macadamia is native to Australia, Hawaii has a special relationship with the nuts. The first tree was planted in 1881 and, with government encouragement, plantations sprung up through the 1920s to 1940s. One variety, the ‘Royal Hawaiian’, is credited with popularising the macadamia in the USA, which is now their largest consumer.
6. You mustn’t give them to your dog
Macadamias are toxic to our canine pals, so stick to official doggie treats if yours is loitering while you’re eating your cereal.
7. National Macadamia Nut Day is a thing
Or at least it is in America, on 4 September. Its popularity doesn’t quite reach that of Thangsgiving or Christmas yet, but give it time.
8. You can wash your hair with them
Macadamias produce fabulous oil – great for cooking, but there are also plenty of products out there for skin and hair care made from the sweet, nutty stuff.
9. They go remarkably well with fish
It sounds an unusual pairing, but macadamias make for a fantastic crust on cooked fish. Take for example, this recipe for baked sea bass with a macadamia and liquorice crust, or this one for macadamia-topped halibut.
10. But they go even better with dark chocolate and cherries
Especially when expertly combined with granola by the Dorset Cereals mixologists. Of course we would say that, but only because it’s true.
And now that you’re a macadamia expert, you can pick up your box of Choc Cherry Granola from Sainsburys, Waitrose, Asda etc, confident that you know exactly what you’re doing…