The Australian macadamia industry celebrates 40 years this month, although its history as a commercial crop dates back to the 1880s near Byron Bay on the NSW north coast.
But what most people don’t realise is that macadamias are a native Australian nut – perhaps because Hawaii stole the march on production and it wasn’t until 1997 that Australia surpassed American production.
Now the local industry is worth around $320 million at the retail level, with around 750 growers producing 40,000 tonnes of nuts-in-shell annually. Around 70 per cent is exported.
Macadamias are predominantly grown in the Northern Rivers region of NSW and southern and central Queensland, with smaller plantings in Western Australia and far north Queensland. Harvest takes place between February to August.
To mark its 40th birthday, the Australian Macadamia Society shared these recipes with Business Insider.
Chargrilled Mediterranean and macadamia salad
1 red capsicum
1 yellow capsicum
2 Japanese eggplants, sliced lengthways 1cm thick
2 medium sized zucchinis, sliced lengthways 1cm thick
100g Greek feta, crumbled
1 cup flat leaf parsley, chopped
1 cup macadamias, roasted and roughly chopped m
acadamia oil for brushing
3 tablespoons macadamia oil
1.5 tablespoons red wine vinegar
1 teaspoon caster sugar
1 teaspoon Dijon mustard
1/4 teaspoon sea salt
freshly ground black pepper
To make the Mediterranean salad, put capsicums on a chargrill and cook all over until blackened. Remove from heat and place into a bowl and cover with cling wrap to steam the skin while cooling.
Heat the chargrill to a high heat. Brush each vegetable piece with macadamia oil, then season with salt and pepper. Cook the eggplant and zucchini on the chargrill on both sides until golden and softened.
Remove from the heat and place into a bowl.
To make the vinaigrette. In a small bowl, whisk the macadamia oil, vinegar, sugar, mustard, salt until combined, season with pepper.
Peel the skin off capsicums, remove the seeds and cut into thick strips. Combine all the vegetables, feta, parsley and macadamias and toss with the vinaigrette just before serving.
Macadamia Mediterranean muffins
2 cups self raising flour, sifted
1 cup macadamias, roasted and roughly chopped
100ml macadamia oil
1 egg, lightly beaten
1 cup milk
100g parmesan cheese, grated
100g prosciutto, finely chopped
1/3 cup roasted capsicum, finely chopped
3 tablespoons, finely chopped rosemary leaves
rosemary sprigs for garnish
12 thin slices roasted capsicum, extra for garnish
Preheat oven to 200°C, fan-forced. Lightly grease a 12-muffin, 1/3 cup capacity muffin pan or line with muffin cases.
Place the flour and macadamias into a large bowl. Make a well in the centre. Pour oil, egg and milk into a jug and stir until combined. Pour into the flour well and stir until almost combined. Add the cheese, prosciutto, roasted capsicum and rosemary and fold through.
Spoon into the muffin holes, garnish with rosemary sprigs and a slice of capsicum. Bake for 20 minutes or until a skewer inserted into the centre comes out clean.
3 cups thickened cream
1 cup milk 120g macadamia butter*
1/4 cup honey
8 egg yolks
1/4 cup sugar extra sugar
Put the cream, milk, macadamia butter and honey into a medium saucepan and bring slowly to the boil, stirring with a whisk to incorporate the butter and honey. Set aside.
Whisk the eggs yolks and sugar in a large glass or ceramic bowl and pour the hot cream over the eggs and sugar and whisk to combine well.
Clean and dry the saucepan and pour in the custard mix.
Stir over a gentle heat with a wooden spoon until it is thickened and coats the back of the spoon.
Divide the custard between 8 x 1/2 cup ramekin dishes filling right to the top and place into the fridge to chill overnight.
To serve sprinkle tops with an even layer of sugar and using a blowtorch or under a preheated grill, quickly and evenly caramelise the tops.
* Macadamia butter is available at some farmers markets, specialty stores or it is easy to make your own, see the recipe at australian-macadamias.org
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