National Macadamia Nut Day on September 4th recognizes a delicious nut found in many baked goods and desserts.
- Macadamia nuts originated in Australia.
- The nut itself was first discovered (at least among Europeans) by Allan Cunningham in 1828, but it took another 29 years for it to be named.
- It was named by Ferdinand von Mueller, a German-Australian Chemist and botanist, after his good friend John Macadam.
- In 1882 the trees were cultivated in Hawaii to help protect sugar cane, but they didn’t come into agricultural cultivation until 1888.
- Although they are native to Australia, most of today’s world supply grows in Hawaii. Growers first began cultivating macadamia trees in Hawaii in 1921.
- Indonesia, South Africa, and California also grow this delicious nut commercially.
- Macadamias are a valuable source of energy, high in dietary fiber, gluten-free, high in mono-unsaturated fat. They also provide an excellent source of minerals and contain many essential B-complex vitamins.
- The Macadamia Nut is one of Australia’s few contributions to the world’s food plants, and this rich, buttery nut is considered by many to be the most delicious of all nuts.
- Macadamia nuts are not picked from the tree but are fully ripened when they fall and are then harvested.
- A tough nut to crack: it takes 300 lbs. per square inch to break the macadamia nutshell, hardest of all nutshells.
- The U.S. is the largest consumer (51%) with Japan following at 15%.
- Macadamia nuts, which are edible for human beings, are toxic for dogs and cats: when they eat them they are unable to stand up for 12 hours.
- Macadamia oil can be stored out of the refrigerator for as long as two years without deteriorating.
- Her Majesty Queen Elizabeth loves Macadamia nuts, which appear regularly on the breakfast table at Buckingham Palace: this revelation was made by her former chef Darren McGrady.
- White, creamy and delicately flavoured Macadamia is used to make fondues and gourmet recipes for vegan “cheese”.
- Apart from humans, one of the few animals able to crack these nuts is the hyacinth macaw, a South American parrot.
- Even with the ease of harvest, the macadamia is still the most expensive nut in the world. In addition to being prized for its delicious taste and high fat content, only a limited number of fruits are produced by a single tree per season. The nut also has a very hard shell that needs to be cracked open before being sold in the market.
- The macadamia is the most calorie-laden nut. One hundred grams (about 2/3 cup or a handful) contains 718 calories.