August 20, 2012

Simple Pleasures- Fresh Hazelnuts

A few summers back I saw my first hazelnuts growing on trees just outside of Gragnano, near Naples.
This year I was blessed with finding a tree on my friends property up in the hills outside of Florence.

the nuts on the tree, the grow in clusters of three

The above shot was from a couple of weeks ago when the nuts were still too green to pick.

the nuts have more color now and were ready
My husband braved the heat and harvested the hazelnuts for me and then armed with a rock and a piece of granite i amused myself in the afternoon shelling them.

I first removed the leafy green part, which was easier when the nuts where a little greener. Lightly touching them, they just popped out. The older darker ones, need to be nudged more.

simple tools

Took me awhile to get the pressure right on breaking open the nuts without shattering them.

Today I oven-roasted them.

Their profumo while cooling was irresistable and needless to say, my husband came and ate them all!!!
I had not finished rubbing off the brown paperlike husk, but it didn't seem to bother him.

So, sorry- no recipe for the apple hazelnut cake i was going to make inspired by my foraging at my friends.

Will have to make a simple apple cake and post that this week.

It is a Tuscan classic and the apples I picked at my friends should be fabulous.

I have enough apples to make several recipes. I am also craving a nice bowl of cold applesauce!

Will use some also in my new juicer I am getting. 

Spent the summer getting rid of my gout symptoms by drinking tons of water daily and taking pills.

Now want to shake up my life and am going to do a green juice cleansing diet thing.

Everyone seems to say that they get rid of so many symptoms, asma, allergies, aches and pains that it can't hurt!

I can't wait for this summer to be over. Horrid heat wave and drought.

Fall is my favorite season and I have so many great tours planned.

I will be down in Sicily for two weeks then back in Tuscany for a weeklong program

In October I have another weeklong program followed by my Slow Food Kansas City down to Campagna, Naples, Gragnano and Sorrento.

I have time to wash my clothes and then off to the Ecole Chocolate program we do yearly, this year in Lecco and Torino.

Then I will need a vacation. I am thinking to finally get to Istanbul and check out my roots.


  1. Love the post, Judy, and the photos. And Andrea should still be celebrating his birthday week/month/year so that was just another nice gift for him (after all, he picked them!).
    Will look forward to your apple recipes and am, like you, looking VERY much forward to the end of this miserable heat!
    Thank you for a refreshing post to start off the day!

  2. Judy,

    What a wonderful post, and I love your photos. Peeling those babies from start to finish is indeed a labor of love. Mother Nature does not make it easy to get to them now, does she?

    As always, you have lots of great things going on, and I am confident that with some good attention you will keep that nasty gout in check. We can't have you slowed down!

  3. I saw that you are in the 100 degree F in Florence this week...that is even hotter than us in the Southern USA...ouch! Just can not imagine that heat in your area. Take care, and love your posts!


  4. Thing about hot weather here- is lack of A/C and ice!!!

  5. Are you really considering coming to Istanbul? I can't wait :))

  6. @semsa!!! finally yes-- i can't wait it is a dream!!!

  7. Anonymous9:05 AM

    all looks beautiful. ITALY + HAZELNUTS = WHERE NUTELLA ORGINATED FROM. ;) taste good on apples too. lol but seeing these pictures already reminds me how we use to grind the nuts to freeze so my mother could use in her fall/winter baking.. Christmas cookies ..4 months till then.