Macadamia trees grow in frost-free climates, including tropical and subtropical areas of the United States. The evergreen trees produce macadamia nuts, which are eaten roasted or in a variety of breads and other confections. The tree flowers in spring but nuts don't ripen for six to eight months after pollination. Long, dangling stems hold multiple nuts high up in the tree as they ripen. recognizing when the nuts are ripe and harvesting promptly once mature prevents them from rot, germination or from becoming infested with insects.
Things You'll Need
Keep the area beneath the tree clear of debris beginning in late summer. Rake up fallen leaves and pull weeds from the area. The nuts begin dropping from the tree in fall.
Rake up fallen nuts weekly. Macadamia nuts fall from the tree on their own once ripe. Rake until the bulk of the nuts have fallen, which occurs regularly from fall until early spring on some tree varieties.
Inspect the harvested nuts. Most that fall from the tree are fully mature. Mature nuts have a green husk or green-brown husk that is beginning to split open. The shell inside the husk is brown at maturity.
Pull down ripe clusters in the tree as necessary, using the rake to knock the cluster free. Pull down only those with husks beginning to split. Macadamias typically fall when ripe, but a few clusters may cling to the branch past the mature stage.
Dispose of nuts with cracked shells, as these have begun to germinate. Ripe macademia husks begin to split, but only overripe macademia shells split.
Tips & Warnings
- Remove the green husks and dry the nuts for two to three weeks immediately after harvest. Shell the nuts and roast them after drying to ensure the longest storage life.
- If you don't roast the nuts, freeze them. The nuts only have a shelf life of a few weeks if they aren't roasted or frozen.
- Don't shake the tree to dislodge the nuts, as underripe nuts also fall.
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