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What is a macadamia nut really?
Believe it or not, Macadamia are technically not nuts… they’re actually seeds! However, the term ‘nut’ is usely used in th culinary niche for any plant-based food item that has a hard natural shell, encasing tasty inner flesh.
In the strict sense, A true nut, botanically speaking, is a hard-shelled pod that contains both the fruit and seed of the plant. In this case, the fruit does not open to release the seed to the world. Some examples of botanical nuts are chestnuts, hazelnuts, and acorns.
Common uses of macadamia nut
Macadamia ‘nut’ is the seed of the macadamia tree, native to Australia. It has been grown and thrives in different regions of the world, with the best tasting varieties coming from Kenyan highlands! Among its uses and benefits include:
- Source of ‘good’ cholesterol. Eating macadamia nuts as part of a healthy diet seems to lower total and low-density lipoprotein (LDL, or “bad”) cholesterol, especially when other fats in the diet are low. People with high cholesterol who eat 17-37 macadamia nuts per day for four weeks can see their total and LDL cholesterol drop by up to 9%.
- Macadamia nuts are high in healthy fats and may help those trying to lose weight.
- Lowers risk of heart disease: In 2015, a research review found that eating tree nuts of any type lowered total cholesterol, low-density lipoprotein, or “bad,” cholesterol, and triglycerides.
- Stave off hunger: Macadamia nuts contain protein, high amounts of beneficial fats, and fiber. Together, these nutrients can help a person feel full for longer. The fat takes longer to digest, and protein and fiber help prevent large blood sugar changes that can make a person feel hungry.
- A gourmet ingredient: There is a proliferation of cookies, cakes, confectionery, pastries, spreads, ice-creams and macadamias are also an ingredient in a host of brand foods. Apart from its health benefits, the macadamia has many other attributes. It is an ideal compliment to both sweet and savoury foods, its mellow flavour blends easily with others and it is delicious hot or cold.
The macadamia tree
The macadamia is a glossy broadleaf evergreen with leaves that resemble holly, flowers ranging from pink to white, and edible nuts that ripen at random times during the growing season. Two species are grown for consumption. The smooth-shelled Queensland nut, M. integrifolia, and the rough-shelled nut, M. tetraphylla, are two types of macadamia native to Australia. Nut yield is greatly facilitated by the following:
- Planting more than one tree for cross pollination.
- Using quality grafted trees from productive cultivars.
- Having an ample supply of beneficial insects, particularly bees.
- Growing lots of plants nearby that the pollinators like.