Tasty reads

Hazelnuts, from plant to kitchen

November 15, 2012

How it is cultivated

Plants are cultivated in shape of bushes, 250 to 400 plants per hectar; the maximum harvest can be 35 quintals per hectar.

Trys to gather fruits directly from the plant have been abandoned, because fruits are not all ripened and are more humid, in little plots of land fruits are chosen and gathered by hand after they are spontaneously fallen from the plants.

The gathering can also be made using special exhausters, or with nets placed under the plants, but the weight of the fruits can let the nets fall on the ground, filling the hazelnuts with humidity.

Hot to preserve it

The more the hazelnuts are humid, the more easily they become rancid: that’s why after they have been gathered, the fruits are immediately dried, under the sun in the farmyard or with special driers that use warm air, never above 35 °C.

Gathered in silos or jute sacks, or sometimes shelled and deep-frozen, hazelnuts can be preserved for some time, until they can be grounded; now they are ready to be used by confectionary firms.

How to use it

The “Gentle Round hazelnut of the Langhe” has very good alimentary characteristics and it has a high nourishing capacity (it contains 14 % sugar, 16 % proteins, 60 % fat). Its main employment is in the confectionary industry (chocolate paste, ice creams, torrone, cakes or “baci di dama”).

Once crumbled they can garnish pastry products, while they are very good if simply sugared. At home they are used nin many sweet and non-sweet recipes (from roasted veal to the chicken and celery salade, from bacon fat to sauce for the tajarin – traditional macaroni); also hazelnut oil had once a great role in county eating, though today it is used only by painting and cosmetic industries.