Now is the perfect time to be harvesting and collecting Hazelnuts (or Cobnuts) from trees and hedgerows in the wild. There are many different Hazelnut trees growing throughout the United Kingdom, especially in places like Kent, Dorset, Worcestershire and Devon. They are still grown commercially in many of these locations, though when cultivated or grown this way the nut is usually larger, and is referred to as a Cobnut.
Its that time of year again – Autumn is just about here and winter won’t be too far away, meaning that chesnuts will be available again!
Sweet chestnuts are not only very good for you but they are delicious too, and very versatile. You can use them to make soup, flour, and much more. They taste great just roasted on an open fire, but one of my favourite recipes is a chesnut soup.
It may be best to wait until the frost has arrived before picking, so you may be best to pick chestnuts at around November/December time. But if you see any that have already started dropping onto the floor of the forests then it would be a shame for them to go to waste (obviously leave some for the animals though!).
Heres another really simple recipe for you to bear in mind for Autumn time when acorns are out in their numbers. Although a recipe for acorn coffee this drink doesn’t really resemble a taste anything like coffee, but it is still a very warming and nutritious, comforting drink to have on a cold winters evening.
If eaten raw acorns have a really bitter taste and will leave a funny astringent feeling in the mouth, some people presumed that they were poisonous to eat but they just don’t taste that good – and so its best to process them before making use of them.
Acorns are a plentiful food usually, especially after a wet year, and there is rarely an acorn shortage in the UK. For this acorn coffee recipe you won’t need a set amount of acorns, but a couple of handfuls should provide you with several servings of this drink.
Boil the acorns, shell included, for about 20 minutes. After this time you should let the acorns cool before trying to peel them from their hard outer shell. By boiling them you make peeling them easier and reduce their bitterness slightly. After removing the shell, peel off their outer skin.
Next you need to split the acorns, which you can do with a knife or pestle and morter type implement. Put the split acorns in a warm area to dry for about 24 hours. An airing cupboard or warm kitchen worktop is an ideal place to remove moisture from the acorns.
Finally you need to grind the split acorns up, if you can use a coffee grinder then use one, if not then just try to grind them as finely as possible. Place the grounded acorns onto a baking sheet and either place under a grill or in an oven to roast them until dark brown. You need to pay close attention to stop them from burning.
Place around 3 tablespoons of the ground acorns in a cup of boiling water, like you would usually do with coffee beans. Add some milk and a small amount of sugar, and the acorn coffee is ready to drink.