I don’t eat a lot of nuts normally, but do love to use them in cooking. Hazelnuts regularly find their way into the kitchen for home-made Nutella, but to be entirely honest they’re usually shop bought, not foraged. All that changed this month.
Gosia has been eyeing up the hazelnut trees in the local nature reserve for several months now. We’ve had several debates on whether or not it is moral to steal nuts from the birds (do they even eat nuts?) and suchlike that rely on them for winter sustenance; just when we’d almost decided that the birds would have to find something else to eat, we found a couple of trees in some woods not 5 minutes walk from our house (almost right next to a couple of trees with really succulent, sweet apples, but that’s another story).
So, one autumnal day (has Summer really been and gone already?) we filled a basket with hazelnuts and headed home. I got frustrated with the peeling and cracking (this is why I don’t eat nuts as a rule); Gosia took it in her stride. But one taste and I saw that it was all worth it – whereas the shop bought variety have a dry, hard to swallow texture, these were full of flavour and so moreish.
Now that we have far more hazelnuts at home than we can possibly eat (short term, at least), what better to do with them than preserve some to prolong the enjoyment?
The honey I’ve used in this recipe was supplied by The New Zealand Honey Company (you can just about make out their snazzily designed squeezable bottle in the photograph). Delicious!
This recipe is based on the one in the great River Cottage: Preserves by Pam Corbin.
Recipe: Honeyed Hazelnuts
Summary: Try these honeyed hazelnuts over honey or ice-cream. Delicious!
- Runny honey
- Start by washing your jars and placing in a low over (130 c approx) until dry. This will sterilise them.
- While this is happening, toast your hazelnuts in a dry frying pan over a low heat for 5 minutes, turning them to make sure they don’t burn.
- Now you can (but don’t have to) remove some of the skin by rolling them in a tea-towel.
- Empty the still warm hazelnuts into your jars, packing them in tightly. Do this a few at a time, pouring over honey each time.
- Pour enough honey over the top of the hazelnuts to ensure there are no empty spaces and they are fully covered.
These nuts will apparently last for up to a year – but I doubt they’ll last much longer than a month when you see how delicious they are!
You can try this with almost any kind of nut – or a mixture.
Preparation time: 15 minute(s)