Food

You Say Hazelnuts, I Say Filberts

A while ago, GodzillaPin and the Ninja Turtle spent a leisurely Sunday harvesting hazelnuts back in the countryside. Those nuts were set out to dry under the sun, stored in empty ice cream boxes, and swiftly forgotten in a corner of the apartment. To be fair, it wasn’t so much laziness or absent-mindedness at that stage, for it was impossible to do much with them while they were still in their shells.

Just a quick side note about these little gems – hazelnuts are sometimes also called filberts or cob nuts. A quick snoop on the internet explains that filbert comes from Middle English, which itself came from Old French name nois de Philbert – Saint Philbert being a saint whose feast day falls on 20 august, which apparently coincides with the ripening of hazelnuts.

Oddly enough, hazelnuts are not called filberts here in France, but noisettes. Coincidentally, the word noisette can also be used as alinguistic quantifier, such as une noisette de beurre (loosely translated to a knob of butter, but quite specifically, 10g of butter). Of course, being the brain-splitting language that French is, word order is of great importance, for une noisette de beurre is nothing at all like un beurre noisette (quite simply, butter gently heated until it melts and browns, making a delicious sauce or added to pastries).

So, after another trip back to the countryside, the duo returned armed with one of these, and were ready to start cracking:

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It's good fun for the first three minutes, then your fingers start to blister from the shells, or accidentally get squashed by the nutcracker, or most likely both.

After a good two hours of shelling, the Ninja Turtle had had enough, so it was on to the next step: roasting. Of course, some people like their nuts raw, but roasting brings out a beautiful depth in flavour.

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25 minutes at 180°C but this really depends on your oven size and what degree of roastedness you seek


Once the nuts have sufficiently cooled, the skins become brittle and papery, and slip off quite easily.
Dry roasting nuts without added oil or salt keeps it healthy. It also permits the nuts some versatility, such as using it in sweet recipes.
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Like this cinnamon chocolate chip, goji and hazelnut cookies

What is/are your favourite nuts?
How do you like to eat them?

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