How To Dry Hazelnuts – A Step-By-Step Guide

Hazelnuts are a delicious and nutritious snack that can be enjoyed in a variety of ways. But before you can enjoy them, you need to dry them properly.

Whether you’re harvesting hazelnuts from your own tree or buying them from the store, drying them is an essential step in preserving their freshness and flavor.

In this article, we’ll explore different methods for drying hazelnuts, including using a dehydrator and an oven. We’ll also discuss the best ways to store them to ensure they stay fresh for as long as possible.

So grab a handful of hazelnuts and let’s get started!

How Do You Dry Hazelnuts

There are a few different methods you can use to dry hazelnuts, depending on your preferences and available equipment.

One popular method is to soak the hazelnuts in salt water for 8-12 hours, then drain and rinse them before placing them in a dehydrator set to 115°F. This method can take anywhere from 12 to 24 hours, depending on the dehydrator and the climate you live in.

If you don’t have a dehydrator, you can also dry hazelnuts in the oven. Preheat your oven to 275°F and spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 15-20 minutes, taking care not to over-roast them. Once they’re done, let them cool for about an hour before storing.

No matter which method you choose, it’s important to make sure the hazelnuts are completely dry before storing them. If they’re still moist, they could mold or spoil quickly.

Why Dry Hazelnuts?

You may be wondering why it’s necessary to dry hazelnuts before storing them. The answer lies in the water content of the nuts. Freshly picked hazelnuts have a high water content, which can lead to spoilage if they’re not dried properly.

Drying the hazelnuts reduces their water content, making them less susceptible to mold and spoilage. Additionally, drying the nuts can improve their flavor and texture. Many people find that dried hazelnuts have a crunchier, more satisfying texture than fresh ones.

If you plan on storing your hazelnuts for an extended period of time, drying them is especially important. Moisture can cause the nuts to go rancid, ruining their flavor and making them inedible.

Harvesting Hazelnuts

Harvesting hazelnuts is a crucial step in the process of drying them. Hazelnuts are typically ready to be harvested from late August through October, when they have fallen from the trees. However, it’s important to note that hazelnut bushes usually don’t produce their first nuts until their fourth year, and they won’t come into full nut production until year nine or later.

To ensure that you harvest the hazelnuts at the right time, look for clusters that can be easily pulled off the bushes. If the husks are still green and moist, they may need to post-ripen for a week or two in conditions of high humidity but with adequate light and air circulation to avoid predation by squirrels. On the other hand, if the husks are starting to turn brown at harvest time, they should be allowed to dry completely by spreading them out in a well-ventilated (but mouse-proof) location, hanging them in mesh onion bags, until completely dry.

Once you’ve harvested the hazelnuts, it’s important to dry them thoroughly before storing them. Even if they feel dry to the touch, they still benefit from extended drying over a period of at least several weeks. The water content of the nut reduces as does the kernel inside. It’s recommended to spread them out in a single layer on trays or screens in a warm, dry place out of the sun. Turn them every few days until the outer bracts are easy to remove. This should take about two to four weeks. Alternatively, you can dry them in a dehydrator set to 90-105°F for just one or two days.

Preparing Hazelnuts For Drying

Before you begin drying hazelnuts, it’s important to prepare them properly. Start by picking the hazelnuts when they are mature and ready to be harvested. If the nuts are picked a little early, it’s important to dry them for an extended period of time to reduce the water content in the kernel.

To prepare the hazelnuts for drying, you can either remove the husks before drying or dry them while still in their husks. Removing the husks can help the nuts dry more quickly, but it can be time-consuming. If you choose to dry them while still in their husks, make sure they are spread out in a single layer on trays or screens.

Once you’ve prepared the hazelnuts for drying, it’s time to start the process. One popular method is to use a collapsible mesh drying rack placed in a cool, dark area with good ventilation. Another option is to use a dehydrator set to 90-105°F. This method can speed up the drying process to just one or two days.

Regardless of the method you choose, it’s important to turn the nuts every few days until the outer bracts are easy to remove. This should take about two to four weeks. Once they’re dry, you can shell them or store them in the shells. In-shell hazelnuts can be stored at room temperature for several months, while shelled hazelnuts should be eaten within a few weeks or stored in the refrigerator for up to a year.

To increase their shelf life, it’s best to process hazelnuts just before use. This will keep them fresher longer and prevent spoilage. Whether you choose to soak and dehydrate or use an oven method, properly preparing and drying hazelnuts will ensure they’re ready for use whenever you need them.

Drying Hazelnuts In A Dehydrator

Drying hazelnuts in a dehydrator is a great option if you have one available. It’s a simple and effective way to dry the nuts quickly and efficiently.

To start, spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on the mesh sheet that comes with the dehydrator. Make sure they’re not overlapping or piled on top of each other, as this can affect the drying process.

Set the dehydrator to 115°F and let it run for anywhere from 12 to 24 hours. The exact drying time will depend on factors like the type of dehydrator you have and the humidity level in your area. It’s important to check on the nuts periodically and make sure they’re drying evenly.

Once the hazelnuts are completely dry, they should be crispy and crunchy. If they’re still soft or moist, they need more time in the dehydrator. It’s better to err on the side of caution and give them a little extra time to dry, rather than risking spoilage.

After drying, let the hazelnuts cool to room temperature before storing them. It’s best to store them whole and unshelled, as this will help preserve their freshness. They can be stored at room temperature for several months or in the freezer for up to a year.

Drying Hazelnuts In An Oven

Drying hazelnuts in an oven is a simple and effective method that doesn’t require any special equipment. Here’s how to do it:

1. Preheat your oven to 350°F and line a baking sheet with parchment paper or foil.

2. Spread the hazelnuts out in a single layer on the baking sheet.

3. Toast the hazelnuts in the preheated oven for 10-15 minutes, stirring occasionally, until they are golden brown and fragrant.

4. Once the hazelnuts are done, remove them from the oven and let them cool for about an hour before storing.

It’s important to note that over-roasting the hazelnuts can cause them to scorch quickly, so keep an eye on them while they’re in the oven. It’s also a good idea to check on them frequently and stir them around to ensure even roasting.

Once the hazelnuts are completely dry and cool, store them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place. They will keep for several months if stored properly.

Storing Dried Hazelnuts

Once your hazelnuts are completely dry, it’s important to store them properly to keep them fresh and flavorful. One option is to freeze them in an airtight container, which can extend their shelf life to over a year. However, if you prefer to keep them at room temperature, store them in a cool, dark, and dry place, such as a pantry or cupboard.

It’s also important to protect your hazelnuts from strong odors, as they can absorb these odors and affect their flavor. Consider storing them in an airtight container or bag to prevent this from happening.

If you plan on using the hazelnuts for baking or cooking, it’s best to chop, slice, or grind them just before use. This will help keep them fresher for longer.

Overall, storing dried hazelnuts properly is essential for preserving their flavor and texture. Whether you choose to freeze them or store them at room temperature, make sure they’re kept in an airtight container and protected from strong odors.

About The Author