We Love … Hazel Nuts

 	This image was originally posted to Flickr by anemoneprojectors at https://flickr.com/photos/58414938@N00/29204781696. It was reviewed on 25 December 2018 by FlickreviewR 2 and was confirmed to be licensed under the terms of the cc-by-sa-2.0.

You might think that this is a little early to be picking hazel nuts but;

  1. picked early in the season, when they’re still green, the shelled nuts make a tasty nibble to munch on while you’re out walking. If you collect enough, the shelled nuts can be roasted in the oven or used to make hazelnut butter.
  2. if you wait until they ripen, they’ll probably get taken by squirrels first!

Hazel is a common tree in woods and very common as a hedgerow tree here in the Scottish Borders. The nuts (also called cobnuts and filberts) can be picked from mid – August. You can pick them when they’re green and leave them to ripen in a warm, dry, dark place, like an airing cupboard. Ripe nuts are found on the tree in September and October, depending on the weather – and the squirrels!

Hazel Nut butter is really expensive to buy, but really easy to make. And if you have foraged the nuts, really inexpensive! The simplest method is to

  • Roast nuts in a single layer on a baking sheet – 15 mins at 180C
  • Once cooled, rub off the skins
  • Blast in a food processor
  • Scrape the nut pieces into the base of the processor, blast again and repeat until you have a smooth paste.

The butter can be stored in a jar, room temperature. It’s great as a spread on toast, pastries and ice cream!

There are lots of recipes – sweet and savoury – on the BBC Good Food website.

If you are going to forage for Hazel Nuts, please follow the simple guidelines:

  • Always be sure you are sure of the plant before you pick it and never eat any plant you are unsure of.
  • Leave plenty behind for wildlife.
  • Make sure you have permission to pick
  • Only pick where plants are plentiful

Why not try growing your own hazel tress to make foraging super easy. Here’s a great guide from TCV

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