Sunday, August 18, 2013

Hazelnut Harvest

Getting in before the wild boar and squirrels

this year's hazlenuts from the cossetted hedge
 I used to be surprised when our elderly neighbour, Signor Bonechi, would come up our drive in mid August to shake the hazelnuts out of the trees. It seemed to early: surely hazelnuts are an autumn crop? Over time I have come to realize that Signor Bonechi was simply canny. 

impossible to photograph, our squirrels resemble this black squirrel but are tinier, more feathery-looking and with a deep burgundy tinge to the black

If you allow the hazels to fall to the ground they will be promptly snaffled up by the wild boar and gathered by the squirrels. Seeing as our squirrels are tiny and I have never seen more than one at time, I consider the large and numerous boar our true competitors.

there are many of these, and they grow huge

So, in mid August I hasten out to secure our crop. In truth I am more interested in the hazelnuts growing fat on the bushes in our irrigated mixed hedge. They are larger and more promising than the wild ones. In the woods we need to coppice the trees to restore the hazelnuts to a respectable size. In the meantime, I figure, they are perfect for squirrels and wild boar: so no one misses out really.

The nuts have to be dried in the sun for a week. Temperatures are perfect right now. I use the beautiful fig-drying tray I bought from Signor Giocondo Fagioli at the Panzano Aprilante market.


  1. You don't tell us what you do with the hazelnuts... Are there any biscuits or cakes to be made from them?

  2. Really I just like to eat hazelnuts as is and the quantity we harvest is rather small for anything more ambitious. There are many good recipes of course. I like the idea of substituting almond meal with hazel meal in flourless chocolate cakes like the Caprese or in macaroons, for a rounder, nuttier (sic) flavour.


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