Sunday, 25 October 2009

Nuts, Nuts and More Nuts

Now this is when we need visitors - to help with harvesting.

The walnut harvest this year has been spectacular with 18 kg hulled so far and maybe another two to come. In total we have 4 walnut trees - one in the field to the east of us and I think the squirrels reckon that that's theirs as not many nuts were collected from there; one by the solar tunnel that's quite young yet still gave a good crop, almost all nicely popped out of their hulls; and two at the drive-side of the orchard. Now these last two are annoying because they overhang the drive so if the fallen nuts aren't picked up pronto then they get driven over and crushed. So it's a constant job collecting them and that's where we need the visitors' help.

Then comes the sweet chestnuts. Now this is a crop that I had never tasted until last year when our neighbours' son and his friend brought us 'un petit cadeau' of an enormous bucketful of them. I tentatively tried cooking with some and they were much enjoyed by all the family. Very high in protein so great all round really. So this year we were out collecting like mad. As well as the two trees in our garden, many of the trees down the drive to us are sweet chestnuts so we have loads in the freezer. As for cooking/baking with them... Hugh Fernley Wittingstall makes it sound easy to roast them in the oven and the skin just pops off but we've found that the nuts inside seem to go a bit hard - like rock! - so we prefer to boil them for a few minutes. Guinea fowl slow cooked with them followed by meringe with creamed sweet chestnuts and sauted apples is just autumn heaven in my book. Mmmmmm. Anyone coming next autumn???

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