Monday, March 2, 2015

Every-day-is-Friday five: enjoying Hawaiian macadamia nuts (the old-fashioned way).

We've been helping at a coffee and macadamia nut farm as we finish out our time on the Big Island. (More on that later!) Luckily for us, our Earth Matters hosts had several macadamia nut trees in their backyard so we got pretty familiar with them during our stay.

Our current host, Larry, has a machine that husks the mac nuts:

it's as fun as it looks

And he sends the husked nuts off to be roasted, shelled and processed.

But the setup in the backyard at Earth Matters was totally old school. Should you ever find yourself in the vicinity of a macadamia nut tree, a tree stump, and a good rock, here are five steps to perfect macadamia nuts:

1. Find a nut on the ground. It should look something like the second one pictured here:

not quite ready, ready, de-husked, NOM
(in that order)

2. De-husk the nut by hand and place in a hole in a tree stump. It looks like this:

mahalo to whoever set this up

3. Smash the nut with a giant lava rock that has the perfect little nub with which to crack the shell.


Don't hit the nut too hard! One smash and the nut should look like this:

like an egg, only not really
... OK, not at all like an egg

4. Peel away the shell. If the nut inside is discolored, brown, or moldy, throw it back on the ground - it will make nice mulch for the trees. If it's whitish all over, keep it! A good nut should look like this:

pure deliciousness

5. When you have a bowlful, enjoy! You can eat them raw, like this:


Alternately, you can toast them in a frying pan on the stovetop, or you can roast them on a baking sheet (200°F for about 15 minutes, shake the baking sheet and roast another 5-10 minutes until slightly golden brown). After toasting or roasting, add salt if you wish. Even better, add freshly harvested sea salt!

The bowl above took about 45 minutes from ground collection to shelling. We probably shelled six bowlfuls during our stay at Earth Matters. Totally worth the time investment, really good prep for our current gig... and really delicious!


  1. no wonder they're so expensive

    1. Automating it like our current host definitely helps but yes - from what we've seen, all tree nuts are really labor- and/or time-intensive.