Macadamia Nuts—for Good Health
Macadamia nuts are the only native Australian plant to be cultivated as a food crop. The unique flavour and crunchy texture of the macadamia is now enjoyed all over the world as a healthy snack and recipe ingredient.
Discovered South of Brisbane in 1828 the Macadamia has been a prized delicacy of Australia's Indigenous people for thousands of years.
Macadamias are considered the world’s finest nut and are the only native Australian plant to become an international food. Their delicate flavour, versatility and crunchy texture make them a delight to consume. Also they contain a range of nutritious and health promoting constituents and form an important part of a healthy diet. A balanced diet containing macadamias promotes good health, longevity and a reduction in degenerative diseases.
The good news is you don’t have to think of breaking your diet by eating macadamias. There is increasing evidence that they have a positive effect on many aspects of our health and they are full of important nutrients including monounsaturated fats, proteins, dietary fibre, minerals, vitamins, and phytochemicals.
Macadamias contain no cholesterol as they are a natural plant food
Macadamias are not genetically modified and only contain natural genes.
Macadamias do not contain any trans fatty acids.
Bimbimie Macadamias - a Hands on Operation
You have to be a patient sort of person to grow Macadamias. Bimbimbie’s Macadamia orchard consists of 200 Macadamia trees which were planted about 18 years ago but it took 5 years before the first nuts appeared!
Janette McLean from Bimbimbie said “The orchard has 5 varieties each producing a unique type of nut including one with a thinner shell which is more susceptible to parrots and rats.”
The Macadamia nuts are harvested between April and August and are all picked by hand
As soon as they are picked the nuts need to be de-husked. Thankfully this is done by a machine.
“We have some enterprising family members who are good at inventing machines to do the job quicker these days. I leave most of the work to my dad and my sister whose son is a mechanic and welder!” Janette said.
After de-husking the nuts are put into drying bins where warm air is circulated around them. This process takes about four or five days depending on the weather.
The nuts are left in the bins until required then hand fed into a cracking machine to remove the hard outer shell.
The nuts still need to be hand-sorted to remove the shell and other debris.
“This is the most time-consuming process but the family chips in to get the nuts ready for market,” Janette said
After sorting, the nuts are gently roasted before packaging.
Bimbimbie sell raw nuts in their shells, nut bits which are good for cookies, cakes and stir-fries, roasted salted nuts and roasted plain nuts. Macadamia nuts can be eaten raw, roasted, coated in chocolate, in cakes, as butter, or as oil. Macadamia oil is the most mono-unsaturated oil available (Mavis 1997). There is a strong negative association between nut consumption and incidence of heart disease (Mavis 1997). This has been correlated with the high content of mono-unsaturated fatty acids in macadamia nuts (Mavis 1997). By replacing dietary saturated fats with mono-unsaturated fats, a person’s cholesterol level can benefit, hence, reducing the risk of heart disease.
Nuts are also high in fibre, selenium and phytic acid, all of which are associated with reduction in cancer risk (Mavis 1997).