National Macadamia Nut Day on September 4th recognizes a delicious nut found in many baked goods and desserts.
- These versatile nuts originated in Australia and were named for the physician and chemist, John Macadam, who discovered them. The doctor was also instrumental in the further cultivation of the tree 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. From there it has consistently exploded into popularity, and has become a mainstay of the nut industry.
- The Macadamia was introduced into Hawaii around 1881 and used as an ornamental. The first commercial orchards of macadamias in Hawaii were not planted until 1921.
- Since the macadamia is nutrient-rich, they are known for their health benefits. As with many nuts, 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.
- These days it is one of the most highly sought after nuts, most famous for being the crowning feature of the White chocolate macadamia nut cookie, arguably one of the best cookies to come into existence since the chocolate chip cookie.
- Harvesting macadamias is easy to do. Once ripe and ready for harvest, the nuts fall from the tree and they are picked from the ground.
- 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.
- Among all the nuts, the macadamia shell is the toughest one to crack. In order to crack a macadamia nut open, you would need to apply a pressure of approximately 300 pounds per square inch.
- U.S. is the largest consumer (51%) with Japan following at 15%.
- The Australian aborigines first discovered Macadamia nuts about five centuries ago.
- 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.
- Since macadamia nuts nutrition is free from gluten protein; it is one of the popular ingredients preferred in the gluten-free food formula preparations. Such formula preparations are a healthy alternative in patients with the wheat gluten allergy and celiac disease.
- Macadamia nuts are the most expensive nuts in the world, at $25 per pound
- While there are ten species of macadamia trees, only 2 produce the pricey nuts and it takes seven to 10 years for the trees to even begin producing nuts.