There are no fancy nut crackers here. We have found the vice grips work the best. You can adjust them to the size of the nut. It also means you know where the vice grips are because they are by the bowl of nuts.
The hazelnuts started falling at the end of February, through to end of March. Each day I would go out and collect them off the ground so they didn't go mouldy. It also meant the job of collecting them was not too big. One walk around the grove after arriving home and the nuts were collected.
We had half a shopping basket full of hazelnuts by the time they stopped falling. It looked a big cracking job. What would we do with all the hazelnuts?
What we found worked best with the hazelnuts was just cracking them as we needed them. We found the best way to roast them was in their shell. We put a layer in a square cake tin and sat that on the top of our logburner during the winter months. In the shells they have a barrier so depending on how hot your fire gets, it can take several hours to gently roast them, with no effort from you. Every now and then we might crack one and eat it to see if they are done. Sometimes the outer shells go a bit black looking so we figure they are roasted enough. Then we tip the nuts into a bowl. We have a had bowl of roasted hazelnuts sitting on our bench, ready to be cracked for a snack for the last five months. We have gone through a lot of hazelnuts this way - they are just so tasty, especially if still warm from being on the fire.
Felicity Cloake's recipe. It is more hazelnutty, less sweet and much more like a breakfast spread than the commercial versions in the supermarket.
Other excellent uses of hazelnuts included adding it to homemade bircher muesli, filling for scrolls or sweet buns, any recipe that requires some nuts like loaves. I used hazelnuts in this persimmon loaf recipe.
The interesting one, that was thoroughly enjoyed was the hazelnut and anchovy spaghetti. It sounds an odd combination but the anchovy adds salt and the hazelnuts sweetness. It just works well. It did involve a serious session of nut cracking.
We haven't ground the nuts into a hazelnut meal for use in baking. Maybe in a few years when we are less excited by the hazelnuts we might have enough uneaten to do this.
We have almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts - hazelnuts are the most popular.
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