Awhile back we heard author Sam Thayer speak on foraging. Up until then we had no idea that many, maybe even most, of the plants, nuts, and berries that we see every time we go out in our Northern woods and waters are edible. We bought one of Sam's books and have checked out his website, Forager's Harvest. Now we are starting to see nature as one big pantry.
Look at these:
They are American Hazelnuts.
After realizing that the odd shaped clusters hanging on the ubiquitous, previously not even noticed shrubs are not mutant plant deformations one can recognize them as food. This is the kind of opportunity that hunter gathers like NDL delight in.
The nuts require husking, which can be a rather pleasant, even addicting activity that draws others in. It is a perfect pastime for chatting on a sunny screen porch or at the kitchen table.
Once husked the nuts are cracked and the nutmeats extracted. Taking a hammer to a handful of nuts is a surprisingly satisfying part of the process.
Toasting brings out the flavor.
And now we can make our own Nutella, top a dish of ice cream, roll a cheese ball in them, use them in baked goods, or pop a fistful into our mouths as a snack if we are willing to give up an hour's work for one delicious moment.
From our first batch we made these previously featured Hazelnut Krinkle cookies.
Never did we think we would be making them some day with our very own harvest of hazelnuts.
So gratifying! So good!