March 1, 2013

How To Peel Nuts

It is often that recipes call for peeled/de-skinned nuts.  Blanched almonds can be found easily in supermarkets, but I've found that blanched hazelnuts are more difficult to find.  I've tried the good old method of roasting the nuts then rubbing the skins off with a tea towel, but I found that this method left quite a lot of skin still on the nuts.  Thankfully, there is an easier way.

Enter water and bicarb soda!

This blanching process is super easy, not overly time consuming, and the results are great.

Recipe Adapted From: My Baking Addiction
2 cups water
2-3 tbsp bicarb soda
Approx 230g hazelnuts or almonds

1. Combine the water and bicarb soda and bring to a boil in a saucepan.

2. Add the nuts.  The mixture should foam.  If the froth threatens to overflow, just lift the pan off the stove for a bit until it goes down.  Warning - mixing does not help!

3. After about four/five minutes, tip the nuts into a colander and run under cold water.

4. Using your fingers, peel the nuts.  The skin should slough off easily, but some may require a bit of picking.  (Almonds are much, much easier to peel - the skins come off in one chunk without any problems.  Hazelnuts are a bit more difficult.)

5. Once the nuts are peeled, dry them with paper towels or a tea towel.

It's best to roast the nuts to remove some of the moisture absorbed in the blanching process.  I found that the best result was achieved when the nuts were baked in the oven at about 200 C for five minutes or so and then toasted under the grill.

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