Sorting the Good from the Bad: Dehusking

Dear reader, you will recall that in this part of our blog we have been covering the macadamia nut processing since harvesting began. If you have just started reading with this blog post, you might want to also view the other previous posts on harvesting and nut collection. What we aim to do is to follow and cover what is happening in our macadamia field in as far as the nuts are concerned. By doing so, we will be providing information about the entire process as well as tell the stories of the different individuals working in the Tree of Life project. Today we will be discussing another stage in the nut processing called dehusking.

Nuts in a dehusking machine

When the nuts are brought back from the farm, they are weighed and then offloaded into the dehusking machine. You will have to notice that macadamia nuts have two shells – an outer and inner one. The outer shell is the one that needs to be peeled off in order to expose the inner one, which is the brownish hard one that houses the real nut. Dehusking is basically that process of removing the outer shell and leaving the inner one. Since there are a lot of nuts being poured in the machine and limited time to dehusk them, this cannot be accomplished by hand hence the need for a machine. However, there are some people who still work at the machine station to pick the bad ones and put them aside. Without these people, even nuts that are damaged will find their way into the storage where they will be packaged for transportation to South Africa, costing us credibility.

Quality is a virtue that we hold dear to the work we do. We try by all means possible, in every stage, to produce the best quality nuts there is. One of the challenges we face is the issue of stinkbugs which attack the nuts whilst they are still forming. Since the real nut is covered by two layers at harvest, it is sometimes difficult to identify those that have been attacked. It is only at dehusking where you see the difference and be able to sort them out. This brings to mind the scripture in Matthew 13:47-50 where Jesus talks about the separation of the just and the wicked at judgment day, because this is also about that in a certain way. However, some nuts are not easy to be seen even on the last shell and it is only after being cracked that you discover the damage. Unfortunately for us, we cannot detect that damage because we transport them with their shells. This is why dehusking has to be as thorough as it can possibly can.

With the skilled personnel that we have here, it is not surprising that our partners in South Africa and beyond value our relationship because of the high standard nuts we produce in our farm. Dehusking, as we have discussed above, also has its own importance, that without it, our quality may be lowered thus causing a loss, not only in the Tree of Life project but also in the entire work of African Christian College. As Scripture says in 1 Corinthians 10:31, “Whatever you do, do all to the glory of God,” indeed we aim at the best so that God may be seen working in and through us.

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