Monday, 5 September 2011

Hazelnuts, Delicious and Nutritious

Hazelnuts (also known as Cobnuts and Filberts) are versatile and flavoursome, they are also one of the most nutritious nuts, an excellent source of protein, vitamin E, dietary fibre, magnesium, and B vitamins. They are very low in saturated fat and high in healthy mono and polyunsaturated fats.
Little Brown Beauties
More importantly, hazelnuts are available for free, right now, in a hedgerow near you. These ubiquitous hard-backed, brown beauties can be found in many hedges and woodland but roadside hedges are often easier because the nuts are simple to see when they drop onto the pavement.
Unripe Nuts on the Pavement
Hazelnuts can be eaten unripe, when the squirrels start – you will see the evidence of this on the floor in the form of crushed and nibbled shells with emerald collars. Personally, I prefer not to pick them off the trees but to collect them when they are falling naturally, after ripening; they look brown and will have fallen free of their collars. I collected my first load this week during my lunch hour; I bring a few home each day in my sandwich box (or hat) to be eaten, cooked or squirrelled away for the winter months.
A Hatfull of Hazelnuts
The first nuts started dropping in early September and these do tend to taste a bit green, so I leave them out in the sun for a while before using them. Never leave them outside unattended though, or the local squirrels will soon have them away (these grey-coated gangsters are the pickpockets of the rodent world).
Hazelnuts Ripening on a Tree in June
There are of course oodles of tasty recipes for spreads, snacks, meals, puddings and lots of other ways of preparing them. I made a lovely trail mix this year and I may experiment with drying/dehydrating other fruit to supplement my latest hoard. First though, I intend to make Chocolate & Hazelnut Spread with the children. I have a feeling that this might prove popular...

Last year I kept my little store in a wicker waste-paper basket in the airing cupboard, which dried them out nicely and they tasted great up until May when I finished them.

Don't Throw These Away


6 comments:

  1. Hazelnuts, also known as hazelnuts usually work best in a recipe, when the skin is removed. This is because the skin is bitter and can change the appearance of the final product according to its dark color.

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  2. Top tips Dreambox - how do you get the skins off though?
    I left them natural for my hazelnut/chocolate spread (it's dark anyway) but it tasted pretty good (as judged by my children).

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  3. Alan,
    Ordinarily I don't like nuts at all, but fresh green hazelnuts and 'wet' walnuts are delicious. Get the hazelnuts, or preferably cobnuts, when they are still green from the tree and they have a softer moist texture and delicate flavour, a bit like a firm water chestnut or more like pignut if you have ever tried that little known English delicacy. They used to sell them in the fruit markets apparently, and some people like them dipped in salt but I think that overpowers the taste.

    Cheers,

    Steve O.

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  4. I am a total nut fan especially with cob-nuts! We have a tree outside the back gate. we harvested a boxful in 2011 and they were lush! I have never eaten a green one though but I will try one soon!

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  5. Hi
    I don't especially like them green and prefer to leave them to ripen properly.
    There are so many about though that it's always worth experimenting a bit ;-)
    Alan

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  6. I tried a green cob-nut. IT WAS EPIC!!! They are now one of my fave foods ever! We have two cob-nut trees right outside our house. A note to everybody else - TRY ONE!!!!!

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