Macadamia nuts are native to Australia and also grown in Hawaii and Central America, are spherical nuts with a very rich, buttery flavor and a crisp texture. Packaged shelled macadamias are roasted and salted or unsalted. They pair well with chocolate, and are frequently used in baking, confections and desserts.
Macadamia is a genus of four species of trees indigenous to Australia and constituting part of the plant family Proteaceae. They grow naturally in north eastern New South Wales and central and south eastern Queensland, Australia. Common names include macadamia, macadamia nut, Queensland nut, bush nut, maroochi nut, queen of nuts and bauple nut; and from Indigenous Australians’ languages bauple, gyndl, jindilli, and boombera.
Compared to other common edible seeds such as almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat and low in protein. They have the highest amount of monounsaturated fats of any known seed and contain approximately 22% of omega-7 palmitoleic acid, which has biological effects similar to monounsaturated fat. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, and 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin.
Macadamias are toxic to dogs. Ingestion may result in macadamia toxicosis, which is marked by weakness and hind limb paralysis with the inability to stand, occurring within 12 hours of ingestion. Depending on the quantity ingested and size of the dog, symptoms may also include muscle tremors, joint pain and severe abdominal pain. In high doses of toxin, opiate medication may be required for symptom relief until the toxic effects diminish. Full recovery is usually within 24 to 48 hours.
To toast macadamia nuts:
Spread the nuts on a baking sheet and place in a preheated 325 degrees F (190 degrees C) oven. Toast, shaking the sheet occasionally, until the nuts just begin to change color and are fragrant, 5-10 minutes. Remove from the oven and let cool to room temperature.
To chop macadamia nuts:
Spread the nuts on a work surface and, using a chef’s knife, chop with a rocking motion. Or, chop the nuts in a food processor fitted with the metal blade; do not overprocess or the nuts will turn into a paste.
For other nut varieties, see almonds, Brazil nuts, candlenuts, cashews, chestnuts, hazelnuts, peanuts, pecans, pine nuts, pistachios, and walnuts.