Monday, March 28, 2011

Paleo Food of the Week: Macadamia Nuts!





NJ Paleo Girl's Fun Macadamia Nut Facts:


• It takes approximately 300psi to crack a Macadamia nut. That is why they are so expensive, and you thought it was because they were so yummy.
• When chopped, the nuts resemble crack cocaine in color, they are often used by law enforcement to simulate cocaine in drug stings
• Perhaps the most unique use reported for macadamia nuts is in the treatment of sexual phobias, they are used as sexual tonics.
• Macadamia husks are generally returned to the field as mulch or used for compost material.
• In a Simpsons cartoon episode Homer and Marge want to get rid of Santa's Little Helper after the dog eats their special macadamia nut cookies.
• Because the macadamia nut shell is so hard it is ground up and used as a high power blaster for polishing aluminum and other metals.
• Macadamia nuts are native to Australia. They are named for John Macadam, a Scottish born physician and chemist who promoted the nuts cultivation in Australia.
• The Macadamia was introduced into Hawaii around 1881although the first commercial orchards of macadamias were not planted until 1921.
• Australia is now the world's largest commercial producer - at approximately 40,000 tons of nut in shell per year, with a total global production of 100,000 tons.
• Macadamia nuts are harvested by hand after they fall to the ground.
• Macadamia Nut oil content can be as high as 80%.
• Macadamias are toxic to dogs.
• Macadamia oil is prized for containing approximately 22% of the omega-7 palmitoleic acid. This relatively high content of "cushiony" palmitoleic acid plus macadamia's high oxidative stability make it a desirable ingredient in cosmetics, especially skincare.
• The macadamia tree and does not begin to produce commercial quantities of nuts until it is 7–10 years old, but once established, may continue bearing nuts for over 100 years.
• A mature tree will produce 60 to 150 pounds of nuts a year.
• Macadamia nuts are often fed to Hyacinth Macaws in captivity. These large parrots are one of the few animals, aside from humans, capable of cracking and shelling the nut.



Macadamia is a genus of nine species of flowering plants in the family Proteaceae. They are small to large evergreen trees growing to 2–12 m tall. The leaves are deep green and glossy; they resemble holly. The flowers are white to pink or purple and the fruit are very hard and woody, containing one or two seeds. The genus is named after John Macadam. Common names include Macadamia, Macadamia nut, Queensland nut, Bush nut, Maroochi nut, Queen of Nuts and bauple nut.


The nuts are a valuable food crop. Only two of the nine species are of commercial importance. The remaining seven species possess poisonous and/or inedible nuts. The nut was first discovered by Europeans south of Brisbane in 1828. The macadamia nut is the only plant food native to Australia that is produced and exported in any significant quantity. The first commercial orchard of macadamia trees was planted in the early 1880s. Besides the development of a small boutique industry in Australia during the late 19th and early 20th century, macadamia was extensively planted as a commercial crop in Hawaii. Macadamia seeds were first imported into Hawaii in 1882 by William H. Purvis. The Hawaiian-produced macadamia established the nut internationally. Outside of Hawaii and Australia, macadamia is also commercially produced in South Africa, Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, Colombia and Malawi. The nut is primarily grown wherever coffee crops are grown - requiring similar climate and altitudes. In recent year the crops have been abundant and the prices have come down as supply has exceeded demand.



Compared to other common edible nuts like almonds and cashews, macadamias are high in fat and low in protein. They have the highest amount of beneficial monounsaturated fats of any known nut. They also contain 9% protein, 9% carbohydrate, 2% dietary fiber, as well as calcium, phosphorus, potassium, sodium, selenium, iron, thiamine, riboflavin and niacin. Medical research has shown that the consumption of macadamias may significantly lower the risk of heart disease. Macadamia nuts contain flavonoids (a phytochemical ) and tocopherols ( vitamin E ) , which aid in protecting against cancer and heart disease. Macadamia nuts contain Omega 3, known to reduce the risk of heart disease and high blood pressure. The macadamia nut is one of the few foods that contain Pamitoleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid. Pamitoleic acid may aid in fat metabolism, possibly reducing stored body fat.


Macadamia Nut Recipes:
Macadamia nut hummus



Ingredients:

• 1 1/2 cups macadamia nuts
• 2 tbsp lemon juice
• 2 tbsp olive oil
• 1 clove garlic
• About 1/2 tsp sea salt

Directions:

1. Place the nuts, lemon juice, olive oil and garlic in a food processor and process to breakup the nuts somewhat. Add the sea salt.
2. Add about 1/2 cup water and process again until smooth. Add more water if the mixture is too thick.
3. Taste for seasoning and add more lemon juice or sea salt if needed.
4. Place in the refrigerator to chill for about 30 minutes before enjoying.



Macadamia Nut Recipe Link Love:


Halibut Macadamia 
Banana-Coconut Cupcakes
Macadamia Nut Cookie Recipe
Beet Ravioli w/Macadamia-Tarragon "Cheese"
Dirty Snowballs
Cilantro & Macadamia Nut Pesto
Macadamia Nut Chicken