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opening macadamia nuts

kudru Jun 24, 2009 09:04 AM

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???

  1. m
    mollygirl Jun 24, 2009 09:15 AM

    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. todao Jun 24, 2009 10:05 AM

      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
        kudru Jun 24, 2009 02:33 PM

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

      2. j
        Joebob Jun 24, 2009 02:44 PM

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

        1. a
          adamshoe Jun 24, 2009 03:18 PM

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

          1. t
            torty Jun 24, 2009 04:16 PM

            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. r
              ricepad Jun 25, 2009 11:52 AM

              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. gmm Jun 26, 2009 05:35 AM

                This device looks interesting:

                1. k
                  kudru Jun 30, 2009 08:43 AM

                  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. d
                    dct Jun 30, 2009 02:08 PM

                    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
                      kudru Jul 1, 2009 10:15 AM

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

                    2. c
                      calpurnia Jul 1, 2009 11:41 AM

                      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.

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