The Humble Hazelnut

Now for the Survivalist/forager the Hazelnut is the nut of all nuts, they are full of energy, grow wild almost everywhere and if you have found a good supply can give you a good strarting point for your food supply.
The best time to find wild hazelnuts is from late July to early September and when you find wild hazelnuts they are almost guaranteed to be fresh and green. One of your biggest competitors for the wild hazelnut is the squirrel and they will very rarely leave hazelnuts on a tree long enough to ripen to the brown hard shells that you are used to seeing. The hazel likes to hide its nuts underneath its leaves so even if a tree looks like it hasn’t got any hazelnuts on it make sure you move the branches around and have a good forage you may be surprised. You can also get your children involved get them away from the XBox.
Green Hazelnuts are perfectly safe to eat and in my opinion are actually more delicious than the dried hazelnuts you are used to, simply pick one off a tree and crack it between your teeth (the shells aren’t as hard as when ripened) and you will find a very delicious juicy tasting nut flesh inside, if you have a lot of hazelnuts then you can use nut crackers at home to open them all and save your teeth. If you are lucky enough to have found a lot of hazelnuts then take a large clear food bag and then spread the nuts out into a single layer within the bag. Carefully tap each nut with a hammer until you hear it crack, to start with you may squash quite a few but with practice you will learn just how hard to tap them and will be able to crack lots very quickly without squashing many at all. Once you’ve cracked them all empty them out onto a flat surface and pick the nuts (or nut fragments if your still learning) out and give them a gentle wash before eating.
You can very safely eat raw hazelnuts as they are but a lot of people say they taste even nicer roasted. To roast your hazelnuts spread a single layer of them out onto a baking tray and roast them in a preheated oven at 140C for 15-20 minutes, you don’t want to burn the hazelnuts so keep an eye on them after 10 minutes. The skin on roasted hazelnuts has a bit of a bitter taste to it and removing it couldn’t be any easier. Take the hazelnuts straight out of the oven and tip them into the centre of a slightly damp tea towel, fold the tea towel around them and leave for a couple of minutes to allow them to steam themselves. Give the them a vigorous rub whilst they are in the tea towel and this should remove most of the skin for you leaving you with delicious roasted hazelnuts. You can keep roasted hazelnuts in an airtight container for a good 6-8 months.

One of my favourite recipes for using the green hazelnuts (they are also called cobnuts sometimes) is a Rocket, Hazelnut & Sausage Salad. This can be made almost anywhere as long as you have a stove, a large frying pan and a couple of plates.

You will need the following ingredients:
30ml Olive Oil
20g Butter
1tbsp Colemans Mustard
4 Pork Sausages
300g Rocket
175g Shelled Green Hazelnuts
6 Cherry Tomatoes (sliced into quarters)
6 Wild Garlic Leaves (cut into thin strips)
Salt & Pepper
Honey & Mustard Salad Dressing

To make your Rocket, Hazelnut & Sausage Salad put the large saucepan on the heat and add the olive oil, now add the sausages and cook on a gentle heat for 10-15 minutes until cooked.

Remove the sausages and cut each one into 5 pieces. Place them back in the frying pan and add the butter, wild garlic, tomato pieces, 1tbsp of Colemans mustard and green hazelnuts. Season with salt & pepper and heat for a couple of minutes.

Divide the rocket between the two plates and then carefully divide the sausage and hazelnut mix between the two plates.

Finally drizzle some Honey & Mustard Dressing over the salad and serve while its warm.

Hazelnuts have also been used very successfully in fishing on the quiet for many years. As with all nuts once you have shelled them soak for 12-24 hours and then boil for 30 minutes before using them. You can either use them directly on the hair or you can grind them up to use in boilie mixes or even in groundbait.

As for a boilie recipe one that I have done well on before is…

4oz Gram Flour
4oz Haith’s CLO
4oz Milk Powder
2oz Finely Ground Green Hazelnuts
1oz Whole Egg Powder
1oz Haith’s SuperRed
3 Large Eggs
1tsp Mustard Powder

To make your boilies break the eggs into a large mixing bowl and give them a quick whisk to mix the white and yolk. Then in a large airtight container add all the dry ingredients and give it a good shake to mix them all together.

Slowly add the dry ingredients to the eggs mixing it as you go along. You want to end up with a dough that just doesn’t stick to hands but is still slightly damp. You may need slightly more or less dry ingredients to get this texture of dough.

Boil a saucepan of water and while you are waiting for the water to boil break off small pieces of the dough and roll them in your hand, you want to create balls about the size of a bonbon sweet.

When the water is boiling add about thirty of these balls of dough and boil for 2 minutes, drain off and out into a blue plastic mushroom tray (should be able to get free from your local greengrocer) and then repeat the boiling process until you have boiled all of them.

Leave them in the tray for 24 hours giving them an occasional shake to move them around and then either use them or freeze them until you want to go fishing with them.

Well I hope you have found this interesting and informative and don’t forget to take the time to find out about natural foods around you, after all you may be able to not only eat them but use them in your fishing too.


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