Wednesday, 1 October 2014

Filling the hoards

What can be associated more with autumn-food than nuts? Okay, squashes and mushrooms maybe. But our today’s post is devoted to nuts.
More precisely we want to focus on hazelnuts.

You all know them from bakery or Nutella. Large regions of Europe are crowded with the common hazel, a shrub of 3-8 meters height. Some days ago we found such a shrub. The funny thing is, we passed it for years now and never noticed it. But this day the surrounding ground was paved with nuts, so there was no way to overlook it.

Let us tell you a little bit about the plant and where to find it.

The common hazel (Corylus avellana) is native in most European regions. During Mesolithic it was the dominating woody plant and its nuts have had an important part in nutrition for eras. Nowadays mainly nuts from Corylus maxima (Filbert / German “Lambertshasel”) are on the market.

Hazel shrubs can be found in light woods, edges and hedges. The wood of hazels is not good for any relevant usage. However, young branches can be used for barrel hoops, fences or the like. In early spring, young leaves and catkins can be used as vegetable like spinach.
But as mentioned above, the real treasure are the nuts.
They are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. High amounts of vitamins B1, B2, and E, magnesium and calcium make them very valuable for nutrition. The nuts can be stored for months if you leave them in their shell.

In traditional medicine the leaves have been used for curing liver diseases. Catkins brewed as tea are diaphoretic and the nuts are salutary for brain and nerves.

Hazelnuts are delicious freshly peeled or roasted. But you can use them in lots of dishes, sweet and salty. Mainly the nuts are used directly or pressed to oil in pastries.


Okay, back to our personal treasure :-) We gathered a large bowl of nuts so far and hopefully there's more to come. But of course not everything is for storage. We'd like to try three dishes with them. Or more precisely two pastries and one salty dish, which we think could be tasty. But we have to wait for a special ingredient ;-)
What would you do with plenty of hazelnuts?

No comments:

Post a Comment