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opening macadamia nuts

  • k

I have a huge bag of whole, un-hulled macadamia nuts from a friends tree. Those shells are HARD! A regular nut-cracker won't open them... the only success I've had has been with a big rock, but that just pulverizes the nut. Anyone have tips for how to get the shells off???

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  1. You really need a special nut cracker. My brother in law has macadamian trees and I can't even crack them with the special cracker. They are hard!!

    1. I might try one of those inertia nut crackers that work with a spring loaded ram. But the nut would have to be nestled in a depression to protect the tender nut meat from being crushed.
      According to legend, roasting them and/or boiling them makes them easier to shell.
      I can't validate that claim.
      But I can direct you to some commercial nut crackers, specially designed for macadamia nuts, the I believe are your best choice.

      1 Reply
      1. re: todao

        whew, pricey! Thanks for the ideas... roasting/boiling sounds like a good place to start!

      2. Hold with pliers and hit carefully with a hammer. Practice will perfect.

        1. And now you why MacNuts are so freakin' expensive!! adam

          1. Borrow a friend's parrot? I used to buy them at bird shows for my Molluccan cockatoo. I swear he was able to find something akin to a seam on them because he would roll them around and around looking for the "sweet spot". He rarely messed them up. Seriously though, I did see a tip about freezing them for an hour or so first to weaken the shells.

            1. At the Mauna Loa factory on the Big Island, they claim that the 'old way' to crack macs was to put them in the street with a board over them, then drive a car over the board. I'm not sure you'd recover much nut meat, tho. I'd be tempted to use my bench vise.

                1. Neither toasting them first nor freezing them first helps any (although they sure are tasty when they've been toasted first). Being too cheap to invest in a cracker, I'm going to stick with the giant rock / smashing method. Thanks for all the suggestions!

                  1. When my mother brought some back from Hawaii, she developed a refinement on the rock-smashing technique. Use a cinderblock as your cracking base, lay a tea towel over the nut and use a heavy hammer. In her case, she used a crack hammer, which is used for splitting rock geodes. It has a heavy head about 2.5 inches wide, so you don't have to be too precise. The weight of the hammer (with just a touch of back lift at the end of the stroke, like cracking a crab) would, more often than not, cleanly crack the nuts. The towel prevented the bits from flying everywhere. Good luck--they are incredibly hard, but incredibly delicious.

                    1 Reply
                    1. re: dct

                      tea towel - genius! that will save my yard from all the sharp shrapnel.. thanks!

                    2. Just as a side note, macadamia nuts are toxic to dogs. If you have a dog, make sure you don't leave anything behind for them to get into.