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All About Hawaiian Macadamia Nuts
From the Pohoiki Farm Orchard
of Monika's Mac Nuts on the
Big Island of Hawaii
The Macadamia nut tree belongs to the family Proteaceae. It is native to the coastal rain forest areas of Australia. Macadamia seeds were first imported into Hawaii in 1882 by William Purvis and macadamias have since become the most important tree crop in Hawaii. Total acres in macadamia production is 20,200 acres and Hawaii’s macadamia industry is valued at $175 million annually. Major production of macadamia is on the island of Hawaii (Big Island).
Edible nuts are from two species of the genus Macadamia: Macadamia integrifolia (smooth-shell type) and Macadamia tetraphylla (rough-shell type). The macadamia nut industry in Hawaii, Australia, and many other producing areas is based primarily on the smooth-shell type. Considerable research has gone into selection and breeding of the best cultivars for Hawaii. More than 100,000 seedlings have been screened to produce the 7 perfect cultivars grown in Hawaii.
Both species are attractive, evergreen trees, which with age can attain a height of 60 feet and a spread of 40 feet. They have shiny, green, holly-like foliage. The small, perfect, cream-colored flowers are borne in axillary racemes to 12 inches long consisting of several hundred flowers. Although there are a large number of flowers in each raceme, usually not more than about 10 nuts set and mature.
In Hawaii, commercial orchards are planted with grafted seedlings. Macadamia nut trees can start bearing a small crop in the fifth year after planting, and full production is reached in 12 to 15 years. The trees require 60 – 120 inches of rainfall a year and can be grown from sea level to an elevation of 2500 feet.
Macadamia nuts are harvested manually after they have fallen. In Hawaii, the nuts typically drop 8 to 9 months of the year from May to December. The husk and the shell accounts for most of the macadamia nut’s weight. Husk is about 50% of the whole nut. The average kernel recovery rate from "in-shell nuts" (without the husk) is about 25 to 35%. That means the kernel is only 15% of the whole macadamia nut.
Macadamias can be grown successfully on a variety of Hawaiian soils ranging from loose volcanic lava soils to well-drained, lateritic clays. Fertilization (3 to 4 times a year) is necessary for good production and growth. All the husks, leaves and trimmings are used to replace and supplement the soil nutrients in our Pohoiki Farm orchard.
The processing of Macadamia Nuts is done differently from farm to farm and from company to company. At Monika's Mac Nuts the processing of the in-shell nuts is very labor intensive and most of the work is still done by hand. The following paragraphs will explain how we implement the various processing steps in the order of their occurrence.
On our 15 acre Pohoiki Farm we harvest the nuts once a month. The nuts are not picked directly from the tree. As with many other nut types, they tree-ripen and then fall to the ground. All the nuts are then "picked" by hand from the ground. The nuts are gathered in bags weighing approximately 45 pounds each and brought to our husking facility, which is located within the orchard.
De-husking or husking means to peel off the outer fibrous green shell. Husking is done by machine and should be done within 24 hours of harvest to prevent heat respiration and molding. During this step the nuts are sorted manually. Bad nuts are discarded, and nuts which may be unacceptable for human or pet consumption are mulched, composted and introduced back into the orchard. Any nuts remaining un-husked are returned to the husking machine for a second time around.
When the nuts are first harvested, they have a high moisture content (up to 30%, depending on the weather) and the kernel itself fills the entire shell. By drying the nuts for 2-4 weeks in open-air, well ventilated bins, the kernel starts to shrink away from the inside of the shell and becomes loose, although the moisture content is still near 12-14%. For a drier nut, with a moisture content below 10 %, we dehumidify the nuts with no heat involved after the 6 week air drying process.
Nuts, in general, contain lots of oil. Macadamia Nuts, in particular, contain more oils than most other nuts; therefore care should be taken when storage is required in order to prevent the oils from becoming rancid over time (I believe the technical term is "funky"). The storage area should be cool, dry and dark. There isn't an optimum amount of time recommended for storage as there are too many variables. Perhaps a good rule of thumb is 6 months for in-shell nuts.
To avoid any problems created by long-term storage, you might seriously consider our "Subscription" program. This is a very good way to assure that your nuts are always fresh; particularly the in-shell nuts. It works like this: place your subscription order for, say, 17 lbs to delivered once every 3 months -or- 51 lbs every 6 months -or- some other quantity and shipping period that suits your special needs. We can even ship nuts to you once every month, if that is your wish. You are placed into our shipping schedule, which assures the availability of fresh nuts when you want them, and it locks-in the price for a period of one year. If you have a lively retail/wholesale business or a very hungry bird, you might want to consider this program.
The nuts will store reasonably well for up to 6 months. See the explanation in the section on Storage, above, for more detail.
The nuts can be cracked by carefully tightening them in a bench vice or striking them with a hammer after placing them in a sack or paper bag. There are, also, specialty nut crackers available from our store ... Click Here.
If you prefer your nuts roasted, here is how to do it: Avoid roasting small pieces and whole kernel at the same time, they roast unevenly.
- Preheat oven to 225 – 250 degrees F.
- Place the nuts in a shallow pan. Roast pieces that are similar in size.
- If you want to salt them, now is the time to do this (salt or salty water).
- Put pan in oven and roast for 10 to 15 minutes or longer, stirring occasionally.
(you may also roast them in a skillet on the stovetop.)
- Monitor the process closely and remove them from the oven as soon as the browning process begins.
Allow to cool. Enjoy.
If you want to dry In-Shell Macadamia Nuts at home in your oven, do this: Use the lowest warm setting on your oven, or a food dehydrator at (the "nut" setting, if there is one) around 105 degrees F for two to three days. Test the nuts by cracking them open. The shell will become brittle and is easier to crack. If the kernel is still chewy, give them another 24 hours. When they are done, they should be crunchy when biting into them.
Honey Offered by Monika's Mac Nuts is
Gathered and Packaged on The Big Island of Hawaii
by The Hawaii Island Honey Company
Three Delicious Flavors Available
Lehua Honey: This exotic honey is gathered from the Lehua blossom of the Hawaiian native Ohia Tree. The Lehua blossom is, for the most part, a brilliant red color, although its blooms are also found to be yellow or white. The Lehua blooms are stunning as they stand out against their drab, twisted, gray-leaved host; the Ohia Tree. The honey is light to medium amber in color: lighter in times of ample water, and a bit darker in times of draught. The color does not affect the flavor richness of this indiginous special Hawaiian honey.
Hawaii Island Honey Company bees are released into the Ohia forests in March and April as the Lehua blossoms begin to mature. The Lehua honey is harvested from their hives in the Summer.
Macadamia Honey: The Macadamia Nut Tree not only provides us with one of the World's most popular nut, but also yields one of its more delicious honeys. The larger part of the Macadamia Honey sold through Monika's Mac Nuts is gathered right from trees in her beautiful Mac Nut Orchard at Pohoiki Farm on the Big Island. If you like our Nuts, you will Love our Honey! The honey is typically a dark, rich amber in color with a deep lingering flavor.
Monika's Macadamia Trees bloom aggressively from December through April. The Macadamia Honey harvest begins in the Springtime.
Wildflower Honey: The mixture of our Island's tropical wild flowers abound. From elegant wild Orchids (yes, wild Orchids!) and stately Bromiliads to hundereds of more common flowers that grow in the rain forests and on the hillsides of our island home, comes a honey so uniquely Hawaiian that we must certainly offer it to our customers. There isn't another honey that compares with its mild, satisfying flavor. Use it on your homemade scones, in your tea or cook with it. It's never disappointing.
Wildflower or Tropical Blossom Honey is a mixture of tropical Hawaiian wildflowers and is harvested in fall.
All our honeys are available in all sizes: 12 oz bears or cylinders, 16 oz ovals, and 24 oz bears.
Answers to common questions about
this uncommonly delicious and tasty
Big Island Sea Salt seasoning product
About the Salt
Why is the salt a reddish tint? This is often the basis for all questions about the salt. It is red because during the harvesting process 'Alaea is added to the salt. This gives it a slight orange/brown tint to the salt which is completely tasteless and it doesn't smell either. By adding 'Alaea it significantly increases the health benefits of this salt. 'Alaea is composed of over 80 different minerals that no other salts provide.
Regular over the counter table salt is one of the worst things for you! It is mined from large natural sea salt deposits underground where they take the natural salt and basically take out everything that is good, and are left with Sodium Chloride (table salt). This is ideal for melting snow and other industrial uses all which leave eating it a minority.
In addition, Hawaiian 'Alaea Sea Salt tastes much better than any white salt, including the 'Fleur De Sel' French Sea salt. If you were to taste a few grains of the Fleur De Sel, it has a sharp salty edge, as do all white salts regardless of origin. If you were to try a few grains of Hawaiian 'Alaea Sea Salt, most people would say that it has a mellower, less salty taste. Go to the samples page and try the salt in a convenient smaller sized salt jar if you still are not convinced this is the best salt. We know you will like it, at least give it a try if you are debating a sample size.
Once you have obtained your Hawaiian Specialty Salt, and you still are not sure, put your old salt to the test!
Here is another taste test: with the sea salt, make a simple marinade of water and 1 teaspoon of Hawaiian 'Alaea Sea Salt. Take two similar sized pork chops and put one in the marinade and keep both of them in the refrigerator under sanitary conditions for 24 hours. The following dinner, cook both pieces the same way and compare the tenderness of the meat.
If our salt alone can make food this much better, just wait till you try our seasonings!
Why purchase salts from anywhere else? We offer a better product at a better price.
Hawaiian Specialty Salt Company
Copyright © 2006-2009
All about Monika's Mac Nuts
How and when did it all start?
Monika Nauen came to the Big Island of Hawai`i in August of 1997 from her native country, Germany. She was in the process of opening a Bed 'n Breakfast when a 15 acre macadamia tree farm became available and presented a new opportunity. On January 1, 1998 the company began the business of harvesting, processing and marketing macadamia nuts, and MaC's Nut Co. of Hawaii was founded.
How is the company structured - then and now?
The company was founded with Monika Nauen as its Sole Proprietor and its principal investor. Through hard work and long hours and the hiring of seasonal help to pick and process the harvest, the fledgling company prospered. Monika continues the commitment to her customers and to operate the farm to this day. Her focus is on the highest possible quality of freshly air-dried macadamia in-shell nuts for those of you who enjoy the flavor of delicious raw nut, and the challenge of cracking your own. The in-shell nuts are also great for large birds, such as Blue Macaws. She has also added macadamia flakes for smaller birds and baby birds.
Other fine products manufactured by Hawaii Island Honey Company and Hawaiian Specialty Sea Salt are being offered by Monika's Mac Nuts. These products, as well as our own quality nuts, are made and processed exclusively on the Big Island of Hawaii. Check them out in our Product Catalog.
What's in a name?
For many years the company flourished under the banner of Mac's Nut Co. of Hawaii. Those of you that are so used to the fine service and friendly attention of Monika Nauen will be happy to know she is as eager as ever to bring you her carefully selected products and friendly service. The company is now known, simply, as "Monika's Mac Nuts".
Frankly, we think the new company logo and web design better reflect Monika's personality and brings a more festive feeling to the business of farming, processing and the providing of our nuts to all of you... don't you think so, too?