Macadamia trees have been part of the Australian landscape for millions of years. Well, their ancestors have at least. According to the Macadamia Conservation Trust, fossilized early versions of the macadamia tree were once discovered in central Queensland and thought to be around 50 million years old. Over the years, changes in the climate led to the four species of Macadamia tree around today. Their nuts were first harvested, consumed, and traded by indigenous Australians. But over the years, their taste, nutritional value, and versatility have seen them grow in popularity around the world. Now, you can find even find them in milk.
While it currently makes up a small part of the dairy-free milk market, macadamia milk is growing in popularity (which is largely thanks to the Australian brand Milkadamia, more on that below). It’s nutritious, creamy, and its production is good for the planet. What’s not to love? Here’s everything you need to know about macadamia nuts, plus where you can buy macadamia milk from.
The mighty macadamia nut
Macadamia nuts are an all-around great source of protein. Not only are they beneficial for our health (and have even been linked with a lower risk of heart disease, thanks to their monounsaturated fat content), but their cultivation is good for the planet, too.
This is for a few reasons. Firstly, when macadamia trees grow, like all plants, they sequester carbon dioxide from the atmosphere. According to one study, the average macadamia orchard sequesters around 17 tonnes of carbon per hectare per year. Secondly, the trees are also extremely adaptable to changing climates, thanks to their efficient internal water management systems, which, essentially, helps them to ration water.
“From water use efficiency to carbon sequestration, minimization of carbon outputs, recycling of by-products and world’s best biological control, the macadamia industry really is kicking goals in [the sustainability] space,” Lynne Ziehlke of the Australian Macadamia Society told Food Ingredients First.
Their creamy, buttery consistency also makes them a versatile ingredient, which can be used in a number of different recipes in different ways. For example, they can form the basis of vegan versions of ice cream, cheese, yogurt, creamy sauces, and, of course, milk.
These highly sought-after nuts are also bursting with nutritional value. They’re rich in monounsaturated fats, but they’re also a source of protein, fiber, iron, vitamin B6, and minerals like manganese, thiamine, copper, and magnesium. Plus, they contain antioxidants and have high levels of flavonoids, a plant compound with anti-inflammatory benefits. Research suggests that eating foods high in flavonoids may even help to reduce the risk of chronic diseases like cancer, Alzheimer’s, and type 2 diabetes.
What is macadamia milk?
Around the world, the plant-based milk market is booming. By 2029, some experts predict it could hit more than $42 billion. Ultimately the market is growing because consumers are becoming more aware of its health and environmental benefits. (And its ethical benefits—after all, every year, the dairy industry exploits millions of cows for their milk.)
Among the most popular milk alternatives on the market are oat, soy, and coconut, but macadamia milk is also growing in popularity, too. And, like its competitors, macadamia milk is made by soaking raw nuts in water before they are blended to a creamy consistency and filtered.
What does macadamia milk taste like?
How macadamia milk tastes depends on a few different factors, including the brand you buy it from. But for the most part, this vegan milk alternative is thick, creamy, and silky, and tastes slightly sweet, with just a hint of vanilla in the flavor.
How to use macadamia milk
You can use macadamia milk in the same way you’d use cow’s milk or any other dairy-free milk. Sip it straight from the glass, add it to a shake, mix it up in a smoothie, use it as a base for a creamy pasta sauce, pour it over your cereal, enjoy it in a latte, or bake it in a cake—the options are endless.
What brands sell macadamia milk?
While macadamia milk is becoming more popular, the market is still relatively small, which means there are only a handful of brands around right now. However, as the dairy-free industry grows, this is guaranteed to change, so keep your eyes peeled in the supermarket aisle!
When most people think of macadamia milk, they think of Milkadamia. It is, without a doubt, the most well-known and accessible macadamia milk for most people. In fact, it’s now available in around 12,000 retail locations across the UK and the US. The brand was founded in Australia, on a macadamia nut farm, but is now headquartered in Illinois in the US.
The brand offers a diverse range of macadamia-based products including macadamia oil, macadamia spread, lightly sweetened macadamia milk, unsweetened macadamia milk, and unsweetened vanilla macadamia milk. It also offers a barista version, called Latte Da Macadamia Milk.
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Suncoast Gold is a macadamia grower, based in the home of the nut: Queensland, Australia. In fact, it is actually the largest producer of macadamia nuts in the country. But it doesn’t just harvest the nuts, it also makes products with them too. While its macadamia milk, called Suncoast Gold Mac Milk, used to be available in the US, right now it’s only available to buy from Australian retailers.
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Macamilk is designed specifically for smoothies and coffees, which is unsurprising considering the brand is based in Australia’s Byron Bay, a town known for its laidback cafe culture. It’s particularly good at giving lattes and cappuccinos that essential layer of creamy froth, just like cow’s milk (which again is unsurprising, as it was developed alongside baristas). Right now, Macamilk is only readily available in Australia. (But again, you never know when things could change!)
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Last year, Brooklyn-based Lechia was launched in the US by two veterans of the dairy-free milk market (one of whom used to work for Milkadamia). Their expertise shows in the quality of the product, which is everything you want from a dairy-free alternative. It’s creamy, silky, frothy, and enriched with omega-3. Right now, you can order the brand’s range of products, which includes Original Organic Macadamia Milk, Unsweetened Macadamia Milk, and Vanilla Macadamia Milk, from Amazon and Walmart.
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