Macadamia Nuts

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Although it is native to Australia, the macadamia nut is now more closely associated with Hawaii. You might even say it is ubiquitous here as it is found in everything from candies and ice cream to coffee, granola, and salty snacks. The first macadamia tree is said to have been planted on the island of Hawaii in 1881, but it was not until 1921 that Hawaii had its first macadamia plantation. And even then, the industry did not really begin to take root until the late 1940s. Interestingly, the first company to have dipped macadamia nuts in chocolate was Ellen Dye Candies who tried it in 1927. But it took years before the chocolate dipped macadamia that we see everywhere today became popular. Today, nearly all Hawaii’s macadamia nuts are grown on the Big Island of Hawaii. The nut itself is enclosed in a seed shell that is the hardest of all nuts to crack --it takes three hundred pounds of force per square inch to break it open. And as you can imagine, keeping the macadamia in one piece with all that force is not easy. That’s why most of us here don’t even bother trying to crack macadamias ourselves; we buy them raw for cooking or salted and flavored for snacking. In fact, macadamia nuts – chocolate covered or salted are a favorite gift for visitors to take back home.

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