... growing and hybridizing all kinds of plants in zone 6b Maryland since the 1980's.

Wednesday, September 19, 2012

Hazelnut Harvest 2012

The American Hazelnuts bushes have been harvested. We'd already eaten a few but the remaining total is about 9 pounds (in the shell) - compared to the mere plateful last year. And from what I've read about typical yields, and considering that most of the bushes are still pretty small (and had no nuts or only a few), I think we're going to be swamped with nuts in a few years. We've got 44 bushes and average yield is supposed to be about 1.5 pounds/year. So 60-70 pounds shouldn't be too surprising! Having hand-husked these 9 pounds, I think we're going to have to set up something like Don Price's Bucket Husker (found plans by Googling) to deal with them in the future. It would be great to have some kind of sheller too, but that doesn't bother me as much because we can just shell them a little here, a little there, as we use them.
These American Hazelnuts are a little small compared to the European type sold in the grocery stores but they're still pretty tasty. We found a method for de-skinning the shelled nuts by boiling in 2 cups of boiling water with 3 TBSP baking soda added, for a few minutes. The water turns black and the nuts can be skimmed out into cold water where the skins will just slip right off. The skins don't have to be removed, but can be a little bitter. Anyway, after skinning and drying, we roasted for 15-20 minutes at 300 Fahrenheit. They sure were good!

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