In episode one of Matthew Hayden’s Home Ground he shows us how to make his mum’s Macadamia Nut Pudding. Macadamias make a great addition to tons of meals. Not only do they have the Australian Heart Foundation tick of approval, but they contain a high percentage of monounsaturated fats - the good fats - which are also found in olive oil, avocados and almonds.
How to grow your own macadamia nuts
The best environment for growing macadamia nuts is the subtropical east coast of Australia. At present Australia has around 16,000 hectares of macadamias with about 60 per cent in New South Wales and 40 per cent in Queensland.
Like all tree nut crops, macadamias take a long time to grow. There will be no edible nuts until about the fourth or fifth year and the trees do not mature until about 12 to 16 years after planting.
Macadamia trees have limited tolerance to frost, heat, drought, fire and poor drainage. They also don’t like strong winds as their branches are brittle and break easily.
Macadamias grow on a wide range of soils but perform best on deep, well-drained soils which are rich in organic matter. Macadamias are originally rainforest plants so they require reasonable watering.
Where possible you should avoid locations prone to extended wet weather in August and September. This favours flower diseases and makes pesticide application and harvesting more difficult.
How to harvest macadamia nuts
In Australia the nuts fall to the ground between March and September.
It’s best to let the nuts fall naturally, however you can pick them from the trees.
To prepare them you need to remove the husks with a large pair of pliers. Then put the nuts in a shallow screen bottom tray in a dry place protected from the sun for two to three weeks.
To dry the nuts further, put them in a shallow pan in the oven at the lowest temperature for around 10 hours. Turn occasionally and watch that you don’t burn them.
Store nuts in a cool, dry place until needed. Macadamia nuts will stay fresh and crunchier for longer if you keep them in the fridge.