Reigning Celebrity MasterChef and swimming sensation, Eamon Sullivan, is on a culinary crusade to get macadamias on Australia Day menus after a survey revealed Aussies are confused and misguided when it comes to their knowledge of one of the nationâs most delicious native ingredients.
The Newspoll survey of more than 1200 Australians aged 18-64 showed that only half could identify macadamias as being native to Australia. Surprisingly, a third (32 per cent) said they came from Brazil while Hawaii and South Africa were cited by 16 per cent each as the iconic nutâs country of origin.
According to the research, Aussies also had little idea when it came to understanding the macadamia growing cycle with only a quarter (25 per cent) correctly saying the harvest begins around the start of Autumn.
As a passionate supporter of the industry and true foodie, Eamon Sullivan said he believes Australia Day is the perfect time for locals to brush up on their knowledge of the worldâs finest nut and get cracking with them in the kitchen.
âMacadamias are the perfect special occasion food for Aussies,â he said. âThe story of macadamias began thousands of years ago. Growing naturally in the Australian rainforest, the nuts were regarded by the Aboriginal people as something very special and were often used in ceremonial gifts. Today, they are the nut of choice at special gatherings with family and friends including Australia Day.
âTry adding a crushed nut crust to delicious lamb for a truly patriotic dish or simply serve them up as a snack. Their creamy texture and buttery taste are irresistible and youâre sure to be advancing Australia fare by having our native nut on the table,â he said.
âI want all Aussies to really embrace the local produce that makes this country special. As well as being an amazing online blackjack poker ingredient â great in both sweet and savoury dishes â macadamias are also really good for you, so thereâs no reason not to be eating them this Australia Day,â he said.
Like Sullivan, most Australians are able to correctly identify the health credentials of macadamias with eight in 10 of those surveyed agreeing that they are good for your health, rising to 85 per cent among women.
But when it comes to storage of the native nut, Aussies again were ill-informed. A majority (69 per cent) believe they should be stored at room temperature in an airtight container and 11 per cent said storing them in an open container at room temperature is the way to go. In reality, the key to preserving the freshness of macadamia nuts is to store them in an airtight container in the fridge.
Where macadamias are grown is another area of confusion for local consumers. A quarter (26 per cent) incorrectly tagged the Northern Territory as a key growing area, 14 per cent South Australia, and 13 per cent Victoria.
Macadamias are predominantly grown in the Northern Rivers region of New South Wales and up the Queensland coast, with much smaller plantings in Western Australia, and eight in 10 locals (82 per cent) identified Queensland as a commercial growing centre. This was, however, compared to only 41 per cent who correctly marked New South Wales and 20 per cent citing Western Australia.
Today, macadamias are the only native plant that has been developed and traded as a commercial food product with around 850 growers producing around 40,000 tonnes each year.
Australia is the world leader in production, research, marketing and development, and is the largest producer and exporter, delivering macadamias to more than 40 countries worldwide. Between $120 and $130 million worth of Australian macadamia products are exported each year.