At The Hedonist’s country HQ there was great excitement this weekend as both our giant walnut tree and the hazels started issuing forth their delicious autumn bounty.
You will find walnuts either underfoot or still on the tree often trying to make the escape from their oppressive green hulls into your kitchen larder. Channel your inner super-squirrel and give the tree a good shake to help with their liberation. Put on your best rubber gloves before you collect the nuts as some of the shells will need rinsing to wash off the dark tannins. Then they need to be placed in a cool dry place for a couple of weeks ideally hanging in a netting bag. The nuts can be stored for a few months in an airtight container without any harm coming to them ready for the Xmas season.
Hazelnuts come in two varieties-the cob and the filbert. The cob is roundish in shape whereas the filbert is more stretched out being about twice as long as it is round. Hazelnuts can be eaten in their ‘green’ form from early autumn onwards and add a satisfying crunch to a salad or are terrific as a tasty snack with a chilled glass of Fino as you enjoy the last glimpse of the autumnal sun. If stored in a warm and dry spot for a few weeks they will soon resemble the commercially available hazelnuts that are readily available. Hazel trees are to be found both in hedgerows and and woodlands and the versatile nut is equally at home in savoury or sweet contexts and as with walnuts can be pressed to provide a high quality oil.