Skin On or Off?
Our tip is to leave the skin on. Nuts with their skin are a very healthy choice, especially when raw. Hazelnut skins (or pellicle) are a great source of fibre and provide a high level of polyphenols, which have an antioxidant effect when eaten. The skin also imparts its own unique flavour and colour to the nut.
Hazelnuts are at their best when fresh, so we recommend roasting, chopping, slicing or grinding them just before use. They keep for over a year in the freezer and it’s easy to remove the amount you need, bring them to room temperature and prepare them however you please.
If you’d like to have hazelnuts handy for adding to a variety of dishes then you can simply roast and dice the kernels, then freeze them in an airtight container away from foods with strong odours. As an easy rule of thumb, the less processed the nuts are, the longer their shelf life will be.
Roasting hazelnuts intensifies their flavour and develops their colour, resulting in a delicious crunch that’s ideal for snacking or adding to dishes. Spread whole kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet, and bake at 135°C for 15-20 minutes. Take care not to over roast them, as hazelnuts can scorch quickly and taste bitter. The best results are achieved when using a lower temperature and longer cooking time. If you feel the need to remove the skins from hazelnuts (which is certainly not necessary), you can wrap the warm hazelnuts in a tea towel and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes, then rub them vigorously in the towel. Some varieties do not lose their skins entirely, which is a good thing!
Hazelnuts can also be roasted in a dry frying pan on top of the stove, tossed around until they are aromatic. Again, for the ultimate flavour and texture take care not to over roast them.