Sunday, December 30, 2007

Macadamia Nuts.

One of the jobs we fitted into yesterday schedule was picking Macadamia Nuts ( Beaumont variety mainly ) from some of our 10 trees. The trees are 25 years old and are planted near our top boundary fence. Most have a good crop of nuts which we had been forgetting to go and pick and DH saw 2 rats running away with nuts, so we thought we better get there and pick our share. You can leave them till they drop but by picking them we know they are fresh and will keep. They hang in bunches and easily come away from the branch. ( next year's tiny nuts are already there too )

We collected a full sack in less then an hour. Now they are drying in the sun on my trolley and a blanket. As they dry they split exposing the nut. All these outer husks then have to be removed , then further drying before cracking. We have a special cracker but it is still time consuming work - lucky they are so yummy. If you have only ever tasted them coated in chocolate ( YUK ) you have not really tasted them. We lightly roast them to bring out the flavour and add just a hint of salt. They are also good for crumbing and putting in baking. AND they are good for us!

On Christmas afternoon I started a scrap quilt project.( loosely based on my hearts quilt from last April).( I have a system where I save my usable scraps then have a cutting session. I iron the fabric and cut the" best use of," squares or strips from them. These are then put into containers for each different size. That way when I want a quick project some of the cutting is already done.)

I decided to limit the pallet to greens, purples and mauve with some small pattern and lights.The photo shows the stages.
Starting at Left top is a pile of finished squares.
1. ( TOP MIDDLE )On the base square ( in this case 3.5 inches - could be any size you like ), a free hand circle is then cut from a smaller contrasting fabric.( 2.5 ") and sewn on top. Raw edge. ( start sewing at the top - this gets hidden in the seam later and overlap where you finish sewing )
2.Turn this over and carefully pinch up the fabric and cut a circle away from the back being careful not to cut both. ( like taking the back away from applique )
3.( bottom left )This new salvaged circle is then used as the centre or 2nd circle on another square. This way the fabrics get mixed up for a scrappy look.[ so you have a square base with 2 circles sewn on top]
4.( bottom middle ) The squares are now cut exactly in half.
5. These halves are then mixed and resewn, 1/4 " seam, with a new partner...further mixing up the fabrics.
After that these now rectangular pieces are put in rows to form a quilt top - I haven't got that far get as I don't know how big it is going to be. With washing the raw edges start to fluff like chenille. Using these small sizes I am able to use up lots of 3.5 and 2.5 inch squares.
(Click on to enlarge photos )


Suzy said...

Oh boy do I love Macadamias - I devfised a recipe for a thick chewy cookie with them and chunks of white and milk chocolate and when I make them they never seem to reach the biscuit tin because everyone gets into them first!
They are so delicious roasted and even yummy in a chicken stirfry!
BTW I love your purple and green quilt - not just because it is purple mind you.

Unknown said...

I love, love Macadamia nuts, your quilt is going to be great.

Silverthimble said...

Thanks for showing the pictures of the Macadamia nuts. We don't have them growing here in Canada and all we see are the "prepared for eating ones". We just had a discussion about what Macadamia nuts look like as they come off the tree in their shell--you provided the answer!

meggie said...

Very interesting to see the Macadamias. I have never seen them in their skins before. My brother has a tree, but I dont think there were fruit on it when I was over.

I love your new project. Thanks for sharing.

Helen said...

Great scrap quilt project and I can taste those macadamias from here!

Linda G. said...

I arrived via Meggie who suggested your blog when I told of a peacock who has chosen to move in with us.
Your blog is absolutely wonderful and I've been reading and reading..
What a great life you have! I feel sad that you're planning to sell, but yes..we do slow down and have to consider the future..we aren't even really keeping up here on our little acre..
I read The Life of Pi about a month ago and loved it..
I tried to find macadamia nuts right before Christmas and couldn't find any in our stores! It's interesting to see them in their husks and to read about their harvesting.

Ali Honey said...

Hi sheoflittlebrain, just been to see your peacock. Ours is now very cheeky!I will return to your blog soon are read some more. Meantime it's great to meet you so thanks Meggie!

More on macadamia nuts when we crack them.

Lynda (Granny K) said...

I've only tasted macadamia nuts a couple of times, they are a bit of a rarity up here in the 'grim north'! (and very expensive when you can find them!)

All the very best to you in 2008.