I love macadamias. Their buttery flavour and soft crunchy texture are hard to resist. When I was a child we had a macadamia tree in the back yard near the chicken coop. I was always happy to see the sweet-smelling white blossoms form in early spring. I waited patiently as the bees came to collect the nectar and then in December I became excited as the first nutlets formed on the tree.
Every day I fed the chickens watching the nutlets grow bigger until they were round nuts quivering in the breeze until about March when they were too heavy to hold on and fell to the ground.
Sometimes the husk cracked while the nut was on the tree, most times though the husk cracked after they had fallen to the ground. Beneath that plump crust was the woody shell that protected the delicious kernel inside. Sometimes, when I had been feeling impatient, I peeled off the green husk then I cracked the nut with a hammer. Much to my disappointment, the flesh hadn't dried sufficiently so it was stuck to the shell and I would have to dig it out of the shell. It just wasn't the same as putting the full flesh into my mouth. When I was patient and waited for the husk to fall off which is important for the drying of the kernel, I'd be rewarded with a delicious round easy to remove kernel just right for eating.
It's easy to get impatient waiting for a macadamia to dry, but it is really worth the wait. When I was young there were few macadamia farms. Now they are grown in northern New South Wales and south east Queensland and further north to Bundaberg.
My new novel, Kate's Choice, due for release on 4 April 2016 is set on an experimental macadamia farm at Giru, south of Towsville. One of the main characters, Alex Mitchell is a research scientist. He is keen to continue Kate's father's work of developing an experimental macadamia orchard. Kate's father planted the trees ten years earlier and they are just beginning to yield enough nuts so that they can make a living. When Kate's father dies, Alex is keen to continue his work on the farm helping Kate while her husband, Alex's brother, Dusty struggles with PTSD.
Macadamias are a delicious versatile food that can be prepared to make savoury or sweet dishes. As Christmas is only eighteen days away, I am looking for ways to serve this delicious nut this summer. Watch this space and my Facebook page for some recipe ideas. They are extra delicious when coated with chocolate. You get double the buttery taste.
How about you, have you had an opportunity to munch on this delicious treat?