26-10-2020 di redazione
The macadamia of Kenya is increasingly coveted and in addition to having many uses, it is becoming a business for those who grow its plant in the Rift Valley.
In the shops you can find nuts simply roasted and salted, caramelized with honey or for the most gluttonous covered with chocolate, a real delicacy.
The macadamia nut, the oily seed of the macadamia plant of the same name originating in Australia, was essential in the diet of the Aborigines as long ago as 500 years ago.
It was not until the middle of the 19th century that European colonisers discovered its goodness and excellent properties on the human organism by studying the plant and its fruits.
It was called "macadamia" in honour of the Scottish-Australian chemist and politician John Macadam, who analysed the plant together with his botanist friend Ferdinand Von Mueller, then director of the Royal Botanical Gardens in Melbourne.
Its cultivation, which then reached the Hawaii Islands, some South American states and finally Africa (Malawi, South Africa and Kenya) is now exploited commercially mainly for the extraction of precious nuts but also for the extraction of oil, a process practiced both in the food and cosmetic industries.
In Kenya macadamia trees were introduced for the first time after the Second World War by two brothers, Bob and Peter Harries, who started the first nurseries on their Thika farm.
In fact, the plant grows well in soil conditions similar to those of coffee and tea and in latitudes where it does not suffer too much from low temperatures.
In 1974 the Kenyan government founded the Kenya Macadamia Nut Company to promote the cultivation of macadamia and today Kenya is the third largest producer in the world after South Africa and Australia and the second largest exporter in the world. Japan and the United States are the major export destinations.
Edible macadamia nuts come from two different species, Macadamia integrifolia, and Macadamia tetraphylla, other species produce toxic fruit. They are highly appreciated for their delicate flavour and excellent properties on the human organism: it should be remembered that they are toxic for dogs and cats.
They contain a great wealth in nutritional terms and are valuable for their antioxidant effects. The monounsaturated fatty acids they contain are beneficial for the glycaemia values present in the blood. They have a lubricating effect on arteries and veins and promote the health of blood walls. Moreover, thanks to the presence of vegetable fibres able to regulate the functions of the intestine, they are an excellent aid against constipation.
Like all dried fruit, they have a rather high caloric intake ( 747 per 100g ) and can be recommended as energising for sportsmen and women to have an immediate availability of energy after physical activity. As already mentioned, walnuts are particularly rich in oily substances. Thus, through a pressing process, we obtain an oil particularly rich in monounsaturated fatty acids with an excellent yield that is used worldwide as a basic cosmetic oil, due to its resistance to oxidation, especially in the preparation of dermatological creams (it is an excellent emollient). Consumed raw, due to the high presence of palmitoleic acid, Macadamia oil is, on the other hand, less suitable than traditional olive oil but still very pleasant to dress exotic salads with original fragrances.
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