What it is: Also knows as the Australia nut and Queensland nut, the macadamia is a round, tasty nut with many health benefits.
Where it’s from: Indigenous to the East Coast of Australia, the nuts grow on macadamia trees, which get to about 15m in height. The trees only start producing fruit after seven years!
Where it’s produced: Macadamia nuts grow in abundance in Australia, Brazil, the Hawaiian Islands and South Africa.
What it tastes and looks like: Macadamia nuts are small, round nuts (covered by a shell) that have a subtle, sweet taste.
How to eat it: The best way to eat them is raw, but they can also be crushed (as sprinkled on cakes / desserts), sweetened, roasted or salted. Although they are mostly used in confectionary, they also add a lovely nutty taste when sprinkled over salads. Macadamia oil has also become a popular product for cooking.
A good source of: Macadamia nuts are high in monounsaturated fats (the good fats), protein, dietary fibre and minerals.
Benefits: Thanks to the high level of essential fatty acids and monounsaturated fats, macadamia nuts help maintain a healthy heart and lower cholesterol levels. The high levels of fibre aid digestion and help avoid constipation and irritable bowel syndrome. A good source of minerals, the high level of selenium has anti-inflammatory properties, assisting in rheumatoid arthritis. Being low-GI, they provide more energy than any other nut, and they contain 0% cholesterol.
Recipe: Anzac macadamia biscuits
Courtesy of taste.com.au
½ cup whole macadamia nuts
¾ cup plain flour
1 teaspoon ground ginger
1 ½ cups rolled oats
¾ cup castor sugar
½ cup desiccated coconut
2 tablespoons boiling water
1 tablespoon goden syrup
1 teaspoon bicarbonate of soda
125g butter (melted)
Preheat oven to 160°C. Line two large baking trays with non-stick baking paper. Spread the macadamia nuts over 1 tray and cook in preheated oven for 6 minutes or until lightly toasted. Transfer to a chopping board to cool slightly, then coarsely chop.
Sift the flour and ginger into a large bowl. Add the macadamia nuts, rolled oats, sugar and coconut, and stir to combine.
Combine the boiling water, golden syrup and bicarbonate of soda in a small jug. Once the mixture froths up, stir in the butter. Set aside for 5 minutes to cool slightly. Add the cooled butter mixture to the flour mixture and use a wooden spoon to combine.
Place 2 heaped teaspoons of mixture onto 1 of the lined trays and use the back of a spoon to flatten slightly. Repeat with the remaining mixture, leaving about 3cm between each. Bake in preheated oven for 13 minutes for chewy biscuits or 16 minutes for crunchy biscuits, swapping trays around halfway through cooking. Set aside for 5 minutes, then transfer to wire racks to cool.
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Macadamias are an excellent source of minerals such as calcium, iron, magnesium, manganese and zinc. Their delicate flavour and crunchy texture makes them a delight to consume. People usually avoid eating macadamia nuts thinking that it is laden with fats and cholesterol. However, the fat in macadamia is monounsaturated fats which promote weight loss. A perfect snack on the go!