Tuesday, September 02, 2008
HARD NUT TO CRACK
It's that time of year... The macadamia nuts are beginning to fall. We have one small tree that last year only produced 5 nuts. But this year, like the mango trees this year, the flowers were able to mature before the winds blew in and ruined the crop. It looks like we have a few hundred on the tree now. That should keep Kekoa happy for awhile.
They start out as small white flowers on a long stem that resembles a bottle brush and are actually a member of the Protea family. They then grow into nuts which are covered in a very thick and hard green outer skin. The leaves of the tree are very stiff, pointy and sharp which makes picking them difficult. I have read that they are usually harvested after they have fallen to the ground because of the leaves. When they drop, that outer shell will slowly split open over several days to reveal the round brown shelled nut inside. Don't even think about using a nut cracker or a hammer. What you have to do is roast them in the oven for about 30 minutes until the brown shell starts to crack. Then you take them out, wrap them in a towel and lightly hit with a hammer so as not to crush the meat part. So you see it is a very detailed process and indeed a hard nut to crack.