Macadamia is a species of tree indigenous to Australia. Macadamias are evergreens and can grow up to twelve metres tall. The macadamia is known for its seed, the macadamia nut. It takes up to ten years for a macadamia to start producing nuts in commercial quantities, but once established, it may keep doing so for over a hundred years. Macadamia nuts are known to have the toughest shell of all nuts, which require a lot of force to crack. This explains why the nuts are expensive compared to other nuts.

After Macadamia seeds were exported to Hawaii as early as 1882, the island became a renowned producer of macadamia nuts. Historically, Australia and Hawaii have been the major exporting countries of these rather fatty nuts. Come the new millennium, Hawaii started slacking behind and South Africa dethroned Australia as the world’s largest producer of commercial macadamias nuts.

Macadamias are widely used in confectionary, in biscuits and cakes. Apart from that, they are usually consumed separately, but are also popularly sprinkled over salads, deserts or sundaes.

Macadamia nuts consist of up to 80 per cent oil and contain a higher percentage of unsaturated fat than any other nut of seed. Apart from being a delicious snack, macadamia nuts are also a wanted ingredient for cosmetics. Containing omega-7 palmitoleic acid, they are processed into skincare products. Both by eating and by applying to one’s skin, macadamias might cause allergic reactions. Macadamias are gluten free.


About seven species of macadamia grow in the wild. Only two of these however, produce edible nuts and are thus cultivated for consumption. These are Macadamia integrifolia, which produces smooth-shelled nuts, and Macadamia tetraphylla, producing nuts with a rough shell.


As the origin and grower of macadamia nuts differ, the exact measures of the different styles may differ accordingly. Typically, the following styles are used:

  • Style 0 size 20mm plus. 95% large, whole kernels consistent in colour texture and size
  • Style 1 size 16-20mm. 95% whole kernels
  • Style 1s size 13-16mm. 80% whole kernels
  • Style 2 50% wholes and 50% large halves. Size depends on use of halves
  • Style 3 25% wholes and 75% large halves. Size depends on use of halves
  • Style 4L size 16-20mm. 80% halves
  • Style 4R size 13-20mm. 80% halves
  • Style 5 size 9-12mm. minimum of 80% of large pieces
  • Style 6 size 6-9mm. 80% pieces
  • Style 7 size 3-6mm. 80% pieces
  • Style 8 size 1-3mm. 80% fine grains


Due to their unusually hard shells, processing macadamia nuts is difficult and expensive. The nuts pass through counter-rotating steel rollers that exert a pressure of 21 kg per square centimetre. This exact amount of force will crack the shell, but leave the kernels undamaged. The kernels are then passed through a machine to remove any dust, dirt, and remaining bits of husk, or nuts that are substandard. Uncracked nuts are collected and recycled through the crackers.

Macadamia nuts are consumed whole, diced, ground or processed into oil, paste or butter.

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Proximates Units
Energy kcal 718
Protein g 7,79
Carbohydrate g 13,38
Fiber g 8

Total fat g 76,08
Saturated fat g 11,947
Monounsaturated fat g 59,275
Polyunsaturated fat g 1,498
Cholesterol mg 0

Calcium mg 70
Iron mg 2,65
Magnesium mg 118
Phosphorus mg 198
Potassium mg 363
Sodium mg 4
Selenium mcg 11,7

Vitamin A IU 0
Vitamin B6 mg 0,359
Vitamin C mg 0,7
Vitamin E mg 0,57
Vitamin K mcg 0
Carotene, beta mcg 0
Carotene, alpha mcg 0
Cryptoxanthin, beta mcg 0
Lutein + zeanxanthin mcg 0
Macadamias are dry roasted without salt
"Source: USDA National Nutrient Database
for Standard Reference, Release 26 (2013)"
g = gram; mg = miligram ; mcg = microgram; IU = International Units


South Africa, Australia and Hawaii are the world’s leading producers. Further, macadamia nuts are commercially produced in Brazil, California, Costa Rica, Israel, Kenya, Bolivia, New Zealand, Colombia, Guatemala and Malawi. 


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