October 19, 2011

It has, apparently, been a good year for the UK nut harvest, although some commercial nut farms have reported otherwise due to dampish weather and weevil blight.

Apart from the odd cobnut, and sweet chestnut, shopping for nuts cultivated in Britain is usually difficult and the choice limited. If you are seeking ‘raw’ specimens, that’s an additional challenge. One wonders whether edible types grow here at all. Well, they do. For the record: sweet chestnuts, hazelnuts (including the variant cobnut), acorns, pine nuts, walnut, hickories and almonds can all be grown successfully in the UK – as I was delighted to discover, by being given a share of some home-grown windfalls.

Out the shell, their quality and flavour are exceptional. In a different class altogether from what you normally buy (which are heat treated to stabilize and consequently smaller, drier, and frankly, staler). They are special enough to enjoy as they are, rather than turned into nut milk, or pulverised into pates, butters, or crackers. In case you’ve not been following my photo journal here are a couple of images of nuts that I’ve been enjoying fresh this Autumn:







I have prized these not only for taste and educative value, but also because the recent price hikes for nuts in general are eye-watering. If you have family, friends or neighbours who have nut trees or shrubs on their land – don’t let them go to waste. Snaffle them before the squirrels do! Otherwise, try this UK supplier for sourcing them.

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