1. Food

Go Nuts with Macadamias

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Shelled macadamia nuts
Martina Schindler/StockFood Creative/Getty Images

The Macadamia nut is Australia's only native product to be developed and exported commercially as a food crop. When you think of Macadamia nuts, you may think of the toasted and salted variety or even more commonly, Macadamia nut chocolates. But, this versatile little nut has so much more to offer.

In its raw form, some argue that the Macadamia is even more delicious and nutritious. Use it to add protein to soups and salads, or in desserts to add a wholesome crunch, or drizzle some Macadamia nut oil on roasted vegetables. The possibilities are endless.

History

In 1828, English botanist and explorer, Allan Cunningham, was the first European to discover the Macadamia in Southern Queensland. Despite this “discovery”, Aboriginal Australians had long been collecting and consuming the nutritious nut, which was an important part to their diet. The nut was eaten raw or roasted. Oil from the nut was often extracted and used for both medicinal purposes and cosmetic purposes as a base for face and body paints.

The Macadamia, an evergreen tree, flourished in the sub-tropical regions of northern New South Wales and Queensland. The nut went by several names amongst the various indigenous tribes, including “Kindal-Kindal,” “Burrawang” and “Boombera.” The nut also became known by Europeans as “Bauple nut,” Bush nut,” and the “Queensland nut.”

It wasn't until 1858, that German Botanist, and one-time Director of the Melbourne Botanic Gardens, Baron Ferdinand Von Mueller, named the nut after his friend, the prominent scientist, Dr. John Macadam.

In the late 1800s, Macadamia seedlings were introduced to Hawaii, supposedly to act as wind breakers to the sugar cane. The commercialization and farming of the nut was established on a much larger scale and earlier on in Hawaii than in Australia. It wasn't until the 1970s that the Australian Macadamia nut industry really started to flourish.

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