The Macadamia Fruit
Macadamia nuts are some of the best tasting nuts available. Moreover, their nutritional value far exceeds that of most nuts on the market. Here are some important facts that you might want to know about Macadamia fruit.
Though people look at the Macadamia as a nut, it is actually a fruit. Macadamia fruit trees are suited for mild climates which are frost-free. They require abundant rainfall distributed throughout the year. Australia is the largest commercial producer of Macadamia fruit trees. However, they are also grown commercially in the Coastal areas of California. It should be noted that different varieties of the tree will respond differently depending on the location they are planted in. Mature macadamia fruit trees are known for their frost-resistant qualities. However, the trees do not respond well in high temperatures. While they can tolerate temperatures as low as 24° F, they cannot survive temperature highs exceeding 27° F. As mentioned earlier, it is best to grow Macadamia fruit trees in climates that are frost free. This is due to the fact that immature trees, especially those of the species Macadamia integrifolia, are affected by even light frost.
The Macadamia fruit tree grows to heights of at least 30 feet. They are known as large, spreading trees notable for their evergreen nature. In terms of size, Macadamia fruit trees have been known to be 30 to 40 feet wide.
When talking about the commercial importance of the Macadamia fruit, two species are typically considered: Macadamia integrifolia and Macadamia tetraphylla. All other species are either inedible or poisonous as they have cyanogenic elements. However, these elements may be removed through the process of prolonged leaching.
The two Macadamia fruit tree species can be distinguished by their foliage. For instance, the leaves found on Macadamia tetraphylla are known to grow to lengths of about 11 inches while those of Maacadamia integrifolia will grow up to 20 inches. Any new foliage growth in the latter is bronzy pink in color while that of Macadamia tetraphylla is distinguished by its pale green color.
The Macadamia fruit is known to be quite hard containing one or two seeds. The fruit, which houses the seed, is green in color and splits open when the nut matures. The seed coat of Macadamia integrifolia is known to be very smooth. Having a creamy white kernel with an oil content of about 80%, it develops a more uniform texture and color when roasted.
Macadamia tetraphylla is known to be the rough-shelled Macadamia fruit. The kernel of this variety varies in quality. Moreover, the oil content in this variety is also slightly lower. The kernel may have an oil content of about 70% with a much higher sugar content than that of Macadamia integrifolia. Due to these and other factors, Macadamia tetraphylla is more suited to home gardens. Thus, it is the main Macadamia fruit in commercial production in California.