Monday, October 13, 2008

A Tough Nut to Crack

Can you smell the Fall air?

Sunday morning was crystal clear, beautiful and crisp! Perfect Fall weather. The sun was shining, there was a nice breeze with a slight chill in the air, between 65 - 70 degrees. Just as Fall should be in Southern California.

We have several different kinds of trees in our yard, a few actually have things that you can pick off. Our home was originally the main house on orange acres many years ago. Almost every house has an orange tree in their yard. Our tree is an orange/lemon tree. Very unusual looking fruit with an even more unusual taste.

We also have an avocado tree that doesn't bear much fruit since it is overshadowed by a three story pine like tree. No sun means no avocados.

(macadamia tree)

One of my favorite trees is our macadamia tree. Every Fall/Winter, the tree drops Macadamia nuts all over the yard. One of my mom's favorite things to do is to gather all the nuts in baskets for cracking or to give away, shell and all.

A few facts about this tough nut:

  • Originally from Australia and now moved to Hawaii
  • Macadamias are highly nutritious nuts. They have the highest amount of beneficial monosaturated fats of any nut
  • Macadamia oil is a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially skincare.
  • Macadamia nuts are toxic to dog.
  • Macadamia nuts are often used by law enforcement to simulate crack cocaine in drug stings. When chopped, the nuts resemble crack cocaine in color.


It was so nice on Sunday morning, I decided to spend some time outdoors and crack nuts to roast.

Cracking a macadamia nut is no easy task. I have proof of it on my bruised hand. This is the reason for the high price of this particular nut. The shell is so thick that a special nutcracker has to be used, even then it is a slow process and way too expensive. I use a large brick and a ton of patience.

You can see from the picture on the left, the shell is thick and hard as a rock. This was cracked with a few hits of the brick and still... the nut is enclosed.

It took me about an hour and a half to get a good amount cracked and ready to be cleaned and roasted. Since it's still early Fall, quite a few of the nuts weren't separated from the shell, white in color, these had to be thrown out.

A Macadamia nut should be a buttery color and soft. This is when they are ripe and ready to be eaten.

I cleaned all the excess shell and dirt off the nuts and placed in the oven to be roasted. They smelled so gooood!

After about 17 minutes of roasting, the nuts were hot and ready to be tasted jarred. If the task wasn't so back breaking, I would jar these and give them out for Thanksgiving gifts.

After yesterdays morning spent cracking and feeling the after effects today... I think I'll just buy the nuts for too much money in the store!


Becky said...

That is SO neat. I had no idea that macadamia's can grow here. Do you plant the nuts to grow a tree? I'd LOVE to have a macadamia tree in my yard! Way cool. I can only imagine the wonderful smell of roasting Macadamia nuts. Mmmmm.

The Daily Bee said...

Becky! I've missed you around here. The tree was there when we moved to our home.

I found this link for planting Macadamia trees(

Cheffie-Mom said...

Wow, what a neat post. I'm in East Texas.... would love to have orange trees in my yard. And very, very interesting information on the macadamia nuts. Thanks for sharing.