Saturday 5 October 2013

Hazelnut picking - how and when?

Probably my favourite find here in the grounds of my new home are hazelnut (or cobnuts as some refer to them) trees. I spotted them quite early on and spoke to the gardeners to check they were what I suspected. I was told I'd be lucky if I beat the squirrels to them and that was it, I was determined and so was Miss E, she has proved herself to be a fantastic forager.

After some research on the web I found that we needed to harvest the nuts green and they would ripen and dry once picked, so that is what the girls and I set off to do.

So how do you spot a hazelnut tree?

The nuts hide, so make sure you lift leaves and if you have small people with you like I did then you can literally send them into the tree to look under all the branches. The nuts can be found growing as singles like in the picture below but often they are in clusters of between 3 - 5 nuts. Pick the cluster together and let them dry that way.

With regard to knowing when to pick - a good tip I found was to start once some of the cobs start to become speckled and are on the turn from green to brown. If already brown they will start to fall from the trees and can just be picked up form the floor (if you get there before the squirrels)

We did well and got a large bucketful on our first pick.

Picked on 4th September

This is how they look on 18th September

My plan was to just eat the nuts as they are, Blue Bear Woods tells me you can eat them young and green but I was not so fussed on the texture like that. My original plan was just to allow them to ripen and then eat them as nuts with my museli or as a snack. Then Liz from Me and my Shadow sent me her recipe for Salted Caramel Cobnut Crunch.

I'm linking up this post to Fiona's Country Kids - click on the badge to head over and see what others have got up to in their Country Kids exploits.

 Country Kids from Coombe Mill Family Farm Holidays Cornwall
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