I love macadamias – raw or roasted, but in my opinion they’re most delicious when activated.
Macadamia nuts are rich in monounsaturated fats (one of the richest sources in nature in fact), are a high source of vitamin A and have strong antioxidant qualities. Activating macadamias changes their texture and enhances their flavour and is also said to improve their digestibility.
There’s a lot conflicting information online around whether or not to activate macadamias. In my opinion, the taste alone warrants the effort and the benefit of dehydrating the nuts yourself is that they are likely to stay fresher for longer.
Through trial and error, I’ve found that the best results are achieved when macadamias are soaked for 6 hours, then dehydrated at a low temperature for between 26-30 hours.
- Macadamias – as many or as few as you like, as long as they fit comfortably in your food dehydrator or oven. I usually dehydrate in batches of around 900g or 2lbs
- 2 teaspoons good quality salt
Place the macadamias in a large bowl and cover with plenty of filtered water (you will need at least twice as much water as nuts, preferably a bit more). Soak for 6 hours then drain well. Dust with the salt then arrange in the food dehydrator so that the nuts aren’t too crowded. Dehydrate on low for 26 hours or place in the oven and roast on the lowest setting for 24 hours, turning half way through.
If oven roasting, remove a few nuts at 24 hours and allow them to cool. They should be crunchy. Allowing the nuts to cool before you try them is an important step as their crunchy texture doesn’t kick in until the nuts cool. If the macadamias are still a bit soft, roast them for a few more hours, checking every 2 hours (again, allowing them to cool each time before testing.). Try to avoid allowing the nuts to turn golden brown, as this generally means they’re overdone. Similarly, if using a food dehydrator check at 26 hours (allowing them to cool first) and if you prefer them a little crunchier allow them to cook for up to 30 hours, monitoring every two hours to ensure they don’t overcook.
Whether you’re using an oven or food dehydrator, once the cooking time is complete remove the nuts from the heat and allow them to cool completely. Store in an airtight container (preferably glass) to prevent them from going soft. If you don’t mind eating them cold, store in the fridge as this will prolong their shelf life and help prevent the fats from going rancid.
Be warned, my biggest challenge with activated macadamias is portion control – they taste so good it’s had to limit yourself to a handful of nuts a day!