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Macadamia nuts or maltesers?

Macadamia nuts or maltesers?

I bought some unshelled macadamia nuts from a farmers market a while ago. Macadamias are native to Australia and aren’t a nut I’ve eaten very often, they were never that common in the UK when I was younger. Or at least I wasn’t really aware of them. I knew they were delicious with white chocolate in cookies. But I didn’t know they looked like maltesers, and I’d never tried to shell them before. And my goodness, they are tough! I think they have the thickest shells of any nut I’ve ever tried. I thought they’d be like hazelnuts to be honest. But no. They are proving to be an excellent way to minimise my nut eating. I simply can’t get into them. Maybe I need a better nutcracker. Or a larger hammer. In the meantime my husband is doing an excellent job. But it is irritating when I fancy a snack, and I can’t crack them.  A quick google search reveals I’m not alone in this struggle, according to wikihow what I need is a large rock with a macadamia sized hollow in it, which will hold the nut while I pound it with another smaller, flatter stone…  Sounds like excellent exercise, and a good way to work through any anger issues!

They are worth the effort though. Macadamias I’ve eaten from packets pale into insignificance. Like many other nuts, macadamias are high in (good) fats, so they do go rancid if they’re left exposed to the air. These freshly shelled ones taste almost like white chocolate just as they are, with an amazing creamy texture. And the inside of the shells is a beautiful surprise, half dark and half white. Quite amazing. Inspired by the nuts themselves, and made from recycled macadamia nut shells, are these fabulous bowls in great colours from Husque (www.husque.com).

Husque bowls from recycled macadamia nut shells

Husque I Marc Harrison Photos: Florian Groehn

We want to plant some nut trees as part of a fruit and nut orchard, and perhaps a food forest. Walnuts grow successfully just over the road from us. Hazelnuts we think would do well. Macadamias do grow in Tasmania, but it’s a bit on the cool side for them I think. We love cashews, but they’re tropical, so we can’t grow them. Chestnuts do well in Tassie though. And they make me feel autumnal. I spotted chestnuts in the greengrocer this week, which conjured up images of roasting them over an open fire after a walk on a cold, crisp day.

So I’ve been having a look for recipes that include both macadamia nuts and extra virgin olive oil, and the most promising I think is from Martha Stewart for “Garlicky Habanero Macadamia Nuts”. It only needs garlic, chillies, olive oil, salt, honey, and of course the macadamias. The most difficult part is clearly going to be shelling the three cups of nuts required… I’ll let you know when I’ve finished! FFx

Garlicky habanero macadamia nuts

Garlicky habanero macadamia nuts (top left), Martha Stewart.