Macadamia nuts scientifically known as Macadamia integrifolia is actually a rich, flavorful nut native to the continent of Australia. These nuts made an important traditional food source for native Australians, who called them Jindilli or Kindal Kindal nuts. This nut is named after John Macadam, a Scottish born physician and chemist who have actually promoted the nuts cultivation in Australia.
Macadamia nuts can be found in many markets, although they tend to be expensive. They are mostly found shelled, which means that they should be carefully stored so that they do not become rancid. Smooth-shelled Macadamia and rough-shelled Macadamia are two popular varieties of macadamia nuts that are grown around the world because of its distinctive taste.
Macadamia nut are actually an evergreen tree, 20 m in tall with a 20 m wide crown and is normally found growing in mild, temperate climate with plentiful rainfall distributed throughout the year. It thrives well in deep, well drained, moist soil rich in organic matter and sandy loams. The plant has deep tap root and comparatively few lateral roots along with trunk of 30 cm diameter.
Leaves are normally in whorls of 3, pale green or bronze when young becoming dark green; petiole 4–18 mm. Lamina is simple, narrow-elliptical to oblanceolate, 10–30 cm long, leathery, base attenuate, margin irregularly spiny toothed when young becoming smooth, entire, apex acute to obtuse and sometimes retuse.
Macadamia nuts are globular follicle, with an apical horn, 25 mm diameter, consisting of a fleshy green pericarp 3 mm thick, enclosing a globular to broadly ovoid smooth-testa seed. Seeds are normally 20–30 mm across, hard, brown, smooth. Flesh is normally creamy white and have nutty aroma and are sweet in taste. Because of its higher nutritional value as well as wonderful taste it is presently used in several food items around the world.
History of Macadamia
Macadamia integrifolia is native to coastal rainforests of central eastern Australia. The species occurs naturally in remnant forests from Mt Bauple, north of Gympie to Currumbin Valley in the Gold Coast hinterland in Queensland. While specimens have been collected from the North Coast of NSW, this species is not known to occur naturally in NSW.
Along with the Rough-shelled Bush Nut, this species forms the basis of the commercial macadamia nut industry in Australia and Hawaii, usually as a hybrid selection. Australia and Hawaii are the world’s leading producers followed by Costa Rica, but macadamias are now grown in other countries including Kenya, South Africa, Malawi, Tanzania, Brazil, Sri Lanka, New Zealand, Thailand and in Central America.
Health benefits of Macadamia nuts
Consuming nuts on a regular basis has a positive effect on the health. These sweet, creamy, crunchy, and luxurious nuts are more often than not thought of as high fat indulgence rather than health food. But Macadamia contains variety of nutritious and health-promoting nutrients that make them an important part of our daily diet. A balanced diet containing macadamias promotes good health, longevity and a reduction in regenerative diseases.
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