Paul Hirst - Macadamia Nuts


I have 4 Macadamia Nut trees in my yard. As a result I end up with a large number (several hundred pounds) of Macadamia Nuts every year. I do process a small quantity of them for my own use, but the vast majority of them I sell to the Mauna Loa Macadamia Nut Corporation - it's really handy for me that they are happy to buy relatively small quanities of nuts from people like me with just a few trees.

Mac nuts in the state that they fall off the tree are approximately spherical and about an inch or slightly less in diameter. The outer layer is a green husk, inside that is the nut shell and inside that the kernel. The nut shell is incredibly strong. The ones that fall on my driveway can withstand a car being driven over them without cracking. This means that I pretty much have to pick them up - most of them fall on my lawn, and mowing the lawn when there's macnuts down results in the mower firing the nuts at high speed in random directions, which can get pretty scary for anyone within a half mile radius.

To process them manually, you have to rip the husk off, either with your thumbs or a pair of large pliers or pipe grips or similar. You're best to then leave the nuts in shells out to dry for at least a few weeks. If you don't, then the kernels are really oily and don't taste of much - though they do kinda taste of coconut... After drying, you have to crack the shells. I've heard of people doing this with large pliers or in a metalwork vice or similar, your regular nutcrackers aren't going to be any use I'm affraid. I bought a Mac nut cracker, which is a cam operated crusher with a large handle to provide the required leverage. This is the best bet, though progress is kinda slow.

I use some of the kernels raw, I roast most of them though, which gives them more flavour. Trying to chocolate coat them has to be my next Macnut experiement I think.