Ingredient Spotlight: Macadamia Nuts

Have you ever noticed that macadamia nuts always seem to be the first to disappear from a bowl of mixed nuts? Maybe it’s the fact that they glimmer like little pearls amidst their earth-toned brethren. We’re betting it also has something to do with their perfectly crunchy texture and sweet flavor - so delicious!We recently heard a profile on our favorite nut on the Good Food radio show and learned a few interesting facts:

• Macadamia nuts are native to Australia, though Hawaii can be credited with bringing them into popularity.
• Macadamias are an evergreen tree, so they produce nuts all year round.
• You know macadamia nuts are ripe when they fall on the ground.
• Macadamias grow in grape-like clusters with each nut surrounded by an extremely tough husk.
• Macadamias will quickly absorb moisture and become gummy, so only set out only what you think you’ll eat in a few days. The rest should be sealed in an air-tight container.

When it comes to cooking and baking, buttery macadamia nuts are an incredibly versatile ingredient. We really like them in salads or ground into sauces for pork chops and chicken. One of our favorite granola mixes combines macadamia nuts with toasted coconut and dried tropical fruits.

These nuts can also be added to quick breads like this Plantain and Macadamia Nut Bread or paired with other tropical ingredients like in this recipe for Pineapple Macadamia Upside-Down Bars. White chocolate and macadamia nuts make a pretty incredible duo, as evidenced in macadamia nut cookies. We also really like the stark contrast of dark chocolate!

What are your favorite ways to use macadamia nuts?

More on Macadamia Nuts: Macadamia Nuts on Good Food

Related: Strange But True: Bitter Aftertaste From Pine Nuts?

(Image: iGourmet)

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