Monday, July 7, 2014

Taste Testing

After the hazelnuts are all picked, they need to be dried down for a few weeks. For the best varieties of hazelnuts the nuts will fall right out of the husks, so those nuts can just be put in a paper bag and set in a cool, dry location. 

For the hazelnuts that don't drop right out of the husks, the nuts will have to be dehusked. This involves pulling apart the husks and getting the nuts out. It really varies from plant to plant for how hard they are to get out the husks. Luckily, the bad ones are usually the hard ones to get out the husks, so we usually skip those. Those have really thick husks and can be really juicy. The juice tends to sting any cuts one your hands. Some even have some sticky sap-like residue on the outside. This makes dehusking those a real pain.
We definitely want to select plants that fall easily out of the husk, avoiding the dehusking step altogether. 

After they dry down in a cool, dry location for a few weeks, we can start taste-testing the nuts!
All we do is go through each bag, cracking the nuts, and seeing how they taste.

 We carefully take notes of the taste, how thick the shell is, and the size of the nut and meat.

Wow. These looked like they were big hazelnuts from the outside, but look how thick that shell is!

There are always new plants that pop up from squirrels planting them around the yard. Sometimes we include these on our lists as well. You never know what you might get!

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