|Do I pick the nuts off the tree or wait for them to fall and how do I know when they are ready to pick?|
|Macadamia nuts grow on large bushy trees which start producing after four or five years. The trees will be in full production after six years and will continue indefinitely.There are several major varieties of macadamia nuts including Cates, Beaumonts, James and others.
Depending on the variety, the nuts may drop when they are ready for harvesting, or you may need to pick them off the trees. Cates will split the outer hull on the nut and drop. This normally will start in late October and continue through to the end of January.
Pick up the nuts and husk them as soon as possible after they drop. The husks hold moisture which, if not removed will cause the nut meat to become rancid. The nuts then need to be air-dried in shade for at least two weeks. During this drying process the moisture content of the nut meat is reduced and the nut becomes firm.
The nuts then need to be checked for quality. Discard any with worm holes, cracks, discolored shells, etc. Also remove any nuts that are less than a 1/2 inch in diameter.
Hope this answers your question!