Lovers of Australia's native nut are in for a crunchy treat with more than 4,000 tonnes of new season creamy, buttery macadamia kernels from picturesque plantations across subtropical New South Wales and Queensland expected to hit supermarkets, green grocers and farmers' markets nationwide.
Local growers have projected a yield of 39,000 tonnes of nut-in-shell this harvest which will translate to 11,500 tonnes of kernel, with around 35 per cent going straight to the domestic market.
Olympic swimming sensation, café and restaurant owner and macadamia fan, Eamon Sullivan, is urging Australians to take advantage of freshly harvested home-grown macadamias which are available all year round.
"Macadamias are so special and are my favourite nuts in the world," he said. "They are delicious because they have the natural advantage of being grown in their country of origin with production today centred around the same rich and fertile regions that were once home to the original native species.
"I'm truly excited about the quality of kernels going to market this season which continues to be world-class," he said. "I really do encourage everyone to indulge in a handful of macadamias a day and experience the unique taste and texture for themselves. It's all thanks to our growers who are committed to producing the very best crop possible," Eamon said.
New South Wales grower, Warren Elvery, who manages 78,000 macadamia trees spread over 330 hectares, is once again confined to his mechanical harvester to gather the best tasting macadamias in the world.
"It's been a slow start with storms and wild weather earlier this year, but I'm now really focused on getting good nuts off the ground as quickly as possible and providing high-quality product for people to enjoy," he said.
Once gathered, the nuts go through a three week drying process to reduce moisture content and allow the natural oils to fully develop before they are carefully cracked, vacuum packed and stored in a humidity controlled environment to help preserve their shelf life.
Eamon said our indigenous nut is so versatile and can be enjoyed in many different ways. "Their subtle, buttery flavour and velvety-soft crunch make macadamias irresistible at any time of the day. They're a fantastic winter ingredient and add such a delicious, crispy surprise to any dish," he said.
"For some inspiration, try my tasty macadamia and beetroot salad recipe. They're also great in desserts like my winter-warming pear and strawberry macadamia crumble or mouth-watering brownies which are a big hit at my café in Perth," Eamon said.
When buying macadamias, look for ones that are plump, crunchy and light-coloured. To help maintain their exceptional quality, correct storage is vital. Once opened, keep macadamias in an air-tight container, refrigerate and use within two months, remembering to return nuts to room temperature before eating.
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About Australian Macadamia Society: The Australian Macadamia Society is a body of approximately 650 Australian members representing all facets of the macadamia industry in Australia. Whilst the majority of members are growers, membership also includes such diverse occupations as processors, administrators, business people, investors, marketers, consultants, researchers, engineers, teachers and other macadamia enthusiasts.
It is estimated that 80% of Australian growers are members of the Society and that they produce 96% of the Australian annual production. The AMS was founded with the objectives of promoting and coordinating all aspects of the industry, to encourage free exchange of ideas and information and to foster goodwill among members.