What Are Indonesian Candlenuts?
Candlenuts, also known as kemiri, are native to the tropics of Indonesia and have been widely used for centuries in cooking, traditional medicine, and beauty rituals. This relative of the macadamia nut has a high oil content, which even allowed it to once be used to fashion candles, hence the name!
- Candlenuts were once used to create candles
- Kemiri are often used in natural skincare treatments
- Kukui nuts are popular in many Asian dishes
- Candlenuts shouldn't be eaten raw
- They can often be substituted for macadamia nuts
Also known as kukui nut, this elegant plant has been widely prominent in Southeast Asia for thousands of years. From thickening culinary dishes and sauces to formulating nature-inspired skincare rituals, these hardened nuts offer seemingly limitless possibilities.
Keep reading, and we'll share with you everything you need to know about kemiri.
#1. Candlenuts were once used to create candles
The lush and tropical archipelago of Indonesia is home to vivid greenery, diverse wildlife, and a rich, ancient culture. But on these islands, you can also find candlenuts.
The origins of the candlenut tree
Though the specific origin of candlenuts is unknown, these hardened nuts can be found in Indonesia, Malaysia, India, Sri Lanka, and Australia. They come from the flowering tree Aleurites moluccanus, which can grow up to an astounding 100 feet (30 meters) tall.
Candlenuts go by many names, including kukui nuts and kemiri, which is the name in the Indonesian language. The candlenut tree itself also belongs to the same family as the poinsettia, a plant that you might associate with Christmas time!
Initial uses for Indonesian candlenuts
Candlenuts got their name from their beginning uses. Inside the hard, furrowed shell, the nut has a high oil content that allows it to burn like a candle.
These crude candles were made by threading a palm leaf through the raw form of the nut. This natural wick would then be lit, and it would burn just like a candle. On the islands of Hawaii, people would often extract this oil and then burn it in a stone oil lamp in order to provide some light.
#2. Kemiri are often used in natural skincare treatments
Candlenuts have a variety of uses, and their possible applications are extensive. For thousands of years, candlenut oil has been used in many beauty rituals and skin care treatments thanks to its potent moisturizing properties.
Using candlenuts in modern-day skincare products
Though candlenuts first gained popularity in Southeast Asia nearly 10,000 years ago, this seemingly simple nut is still widely used in the beauty industry. Candlenut oil is an amazing natural moisturizer and can effortlessly hydrate dull, dry skin without leaving behind a greasy residue.
A truly nature-inspired skincare routine
For example, JUARA's Candlenut Body Creme capitalizes on a luxurious candlenut-based formula in order to deliver a hydrating and soothing treatment to the skin. Our iconic, award-winning product is also made with other natural ingredients like avocado oil, illipe butter, and rice bran oil in order to treat your skin to a truly enlightening and nourishing experience.
Follow up with our pampering Candlenut Glow Body Oil, which also utilizes candlenuts to provide your skin with powerful antioxidants and skin-supporting nutrients. Plus, its subtly sweet candlenut fragrance will leave you feeling like you're on your way to a tropical Indonesian vacation!
#3. Kukui nuts are popular in many Asian dishes
If you're not adding kukui nuts to your skincare routine, you should try utilizing them in your kitchen. Candlenuts have long been a staple of many Asian culinary dishes, and their almond-like flavor can be delicious in many courses.
Typically, these nuts are roasted in the shell before the candlenut kernels inside are removed. If the nuts are to be used as a dish thickening agent, which is one of their most common uses, they'll be ground up. Otherwise, they can be chopped and sauteed!
In Indonesia, candlenuts are seen as a true kitchen staple. Kemiri can be used to make sambal bajak, an Indonesian relish containing chiles, kapitan, a Malaysian Indian-influenced curry, or inamona, a Hawaiian condiment containing salt and chile peppers.
Keep in mind that candlenuts are also very beneficial for one's digestive system, as they are high in fiber. Many ancient herbal remedies utilize this iconic nut due to the profound health benefits that it offers.
For example, the ancient Indonesian wellness custom of Jamu often included candlenuts in anything from herbal tonics to skincare treatments in order to promote better holistic health. From improving hair growth to treating constipation, candlenuts are a key ingredient in natural medicine remedies.
#4. Candlenuts shouldn't be eaten raw
If you are looking forward to using candlenuts in your cooking, be careful not to eat them raw. For starters, they act as a slight laxative, but they are also mildly toxic.
Be sure to cook them properly before eating them. This will remove the slightly bitter aftertaste that can come with raw candlenuts, as well as neutralize the toxicity!
#5. They can often be substituted for macadamia nuts
Candlenuts are very similar to their cousins, the macadamia nut, in both taste, structure, and appearance. Both nuts are yellow, waxy, and brittle.
Because their taste is so similar, candlenuts can often be substituted for macadamia nuts. Both of these nuts are creamy and mild and can even be swapped out with cashew nuts.
However, the kukui nut might have some underlying bitterness in its flavor, which can often be neutralized while cooking.
Whether you want to use candlenuts to thicken your favorite spicy sauces or merely bolster your daily skincare routine, understanding the power of this creamy nut is just one way to live a more holistic and healthy life.
Juara Skincare incorporates ancient rituals with western skincare science creating the ultimate beauty experience. We aim to transport you from the mundane to the extraordinary with our exotic ingredients, intoxicating scents, and powerful, skin-improving formulas. All of our products are nutrient-rich, and botanically based. We are proud to be certified cruelty-free. Get the latest skin care tips and info on Juara products by following us on Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, LinkedIn, and Pinterest.