How to Toast Hazelnuts
Toasted hazelnuts are a wonderfully fragrant and crunchy topping for soups and salads. They also make a fantastic ingredient for tasty desserts. Toasting hazelnuts brings out a sweet buttery fragrance, improves the texture and helps to loosen and remove most of the skins. Raw hazelnuts are notably chewy and the skins can be a little bitter.
Hazelnuts, also known as filberts, are crazy healthy for you too. They are rich in unsaturated fats, high in magnesium, calcium and vitamins B and E.
Did you know Oregon is one of the largest growers of Hazelnuts in North America? This is also one of the few places that has production facilities where the harvested nuts are dried and sorted, making it one of the most consistent production environments. Most hazelnut growers around the world still depend on the sun to dry their product.
I like to toast them in small batches taken from a larger bag I keep in the freezer. This batch was just about 1 cup of Oregon hazelnuts from a 1 pound bag I bought at a farmers market.
Before toasting them, I try to remove as much of the loose skins as I can. I roll them up in a kitchen towel and give them a good rub, then carefully remove the nuts from the towel to a cutting board where I chop them roughly.
The high oil content of most nuts will make them go rancid rather quickly if they are not at least refrigerated but they will definitely keep for about a year in the freezer. Mine never seem to stay there that long.
Unless I'm making a specific hazelnut dessert, I usually take out a cup or so at a time and toast them up in about 5 minutes. I keep them in an airtight container in my cupboard to use as delicious garnishes for about one week.
Here is a step by step pictorial of this quick and easy process.
With the holiday season upon us I find myself toasting them for many fall and winter dishes. Don't be shy of raw hazelnuts if you find them in your local market. This is an easy prep and these lovely hazelnuts are delicious.
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Beautifully toasted and fragrant Oregon hazelnuts.
How to Toast Hazelnuts
fresh or frozen raw hazelnuts
Place the raw hazelnuts on a clean kitchen towel and rub them to remove as much of the loose skins as possible. Now move the rubbed hazelnuts to a cutting board and chop them into large pieces.
Place them in a clean dry skillet and bring the temperature up to medium high. Stir the nuts regularly so that they brown evenly on all sides taking care that they don't burn. Toast the nuts until they turn a light to medium brown. As soon as they are toasted to your liking and fragrant, move them to a heat-proof plate to cool. They will be very hot.
After they are completely cool, store them in an airtight container. They will keep for at least one week.