Walking past the macadamia tree this morning, I noticed a lot of nuts on the ground.
I started gathering them in my pocket, then looked up into the tree and noticed these babies were ready to pick! Instead of a pocket to hold the nuts, I needed a shopping bag 🙂
They are completely ripe when the husk turns brown and releases the nut. These are about to fall to the ground.
I noticed that some creatures were starting to eat some of the nuts, which tells me it’s time to harvest them.
Here the husks have opened, and you can see the nuts, so they are ready to harvest.
These are not yet ready to pick, because the husks haven’t split open yet.
Here are some pictures of the heavy shopping bag containing the macadamia nut harvest.
They can’t stay in the bag or they will get moldy. They need to dry out for a couple of days, and then I can take off the green husks.
Here’s my system for drying:
I use these trays that you get from nurseries when you buy seedlings.
I keep these old nursery pots full of rocks I collected from the food forest. The rocks collect heat during the day and release it during the night, so they accelerate the drying process. Bricks work the same way.
I line the nursery trays with brown paper so the nuts don’t fall through. Paper is a good choice because it will allow air to flow through it.
Pouring them into the trays. A single layer of nuts will dry more quickly.
Here’s where they will stay until the husks dry out and then I’ll take the husks off. I leave the husks on for a few extra days in case they will help the nut to mature a little more. The husks will leave me with a new pile of organic material to lay out on the forest floor or to use as a dye.
Once the husks are off, the nuts will continue to dry for a few weeks. Test to see if they are fully dry by shaking the nut. When the nuts are fully dry, you should hear the nut rattling inside the shell.
Some of the nuts have already sprouted and can be planted in the pots to grow into seedlings.
Macadamias are delicious raw or roasted. Salted or unsalted. Eat them by the handful or use them in baking and cooking. A local grocery store sells the popular shelled macadamia nuts for $16.99 per pound.