Hazelnuts, also called filbert nuts, are packed with nutrition and possibilities. Hazelnuts provide perfectly surprising pops of crunchy flavor for both sweet and savory dishes. So if you are fortunate enough to have hazelnuts growing in your own backyard, you are in for a treat. But, says the Oregon State University Extension Service, before you can enjoy your hazelnuts, or even store them for later use, it's important that you properly dry them within 24 hours of harvest.
Things You'll Need
Screen- or mesh-bottomed drying trays
Wash dirty hazelnuts in warm water.
Spread unshelled hazelnuts, up to two layers deep, on screen- or mesh-bottomed trays. The open bottoms allow for necessary air circulation.
Place the trays in a hot room or under a heat lamp. Ideal drying temperature is between 90 and 105 degrees F.
Stir the hazelnuts with your hands every other day. Depending on temperature stability and quality of air circulation, drying can take from two to four weeks.
Test the hazelnuts. There are two ways to determine if your hazelnuts are ready. First, shake them; hazelnuts that have completed the drying process rattle in their shells. Second, crack one open; dried hazelnut kernels snap apart easily.
Place dried hazelnuts in plastic bags. Store in the refrigerator for up to one year or in the freezer (at no higher than 0 degrees F) for up to two years.
When you are ready to eat or use your hazelnuts, shell them and roast them in your oven at 275 degrees F for 20 to 30 minutes or until their skins crack. Mesh-bottomed bird feeder trays are ideal for drying hazelnuts, as they allow for excellent air circulation. Do not, however, use trays that have been used to feed birds, as this could contaminate your nuts. New trays are a must.
Do not allow drying temperature to exceed 110 degrees F. Nut quality will be negatively affected.