Sunday, February 14, 2010

Noisettes

I love hazelnuts. So I was quite pleased when friends Susan and Simon brought us a bag of them from their trees in Preuilly-sur-Claise last month. They're easily shelled with a proper nut cracker, and then, once roasted lightly in the oven, are ready for all manner of recipes. They're also good just to much on.

Freshly shelled hazelnuts from Susan's and Simon's trees.

If you've been a long-time reader of this blog, you might remember that there are about twelve hazelnut trees in our own back yard. Our problem with them is that we have little weevils that bore into the young nuts to lay their eggs. The hatching larvae then consume the nut before it can grow. We get beautiful, but hollow, hazelnuts in late summer.

And the few nuts that the weevils miss are taken by our local red squirrels. I've done a little research into dealing with the weevils, but I don't want to spray the trees with insecticides. One solution is to encircle the trunks with sticky tape to prevent the females (who spend winter in the ground at the base of the trees) from climbing up to bore into the fruit in spring. Most of our trees have multiple trunks, so this is not a very practical, much less economical, solution.

Consequently, I've done nothing to deal with the problem and we don't have many edible hazelnuts as a result. Susan and Simon just bought their property with the nut trees on it last year. I don't think they've done anything in particular to them, or if the previous owner did. But they seem to have had a good crop.

6 comments:

  1. I asked the previous owner if he did anything to protect the hazelnuts and he said no. We haven't done anything either and it seems fine, but each year may be different. We harvested 3 fruit boxes of nuts and decided that was enough. The rest were left for the wildlife. We are about halfway through shelling them - an activity for when you are sitting in front of the fire watching telly.

    Can't wait to see what deliciousness you produce with them. So far we've just eaten them raw and frozen lots for later.

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  2. I think we have an infestation of weevils, that's all. They got out of control at some point and we haven't done anything to get them back under control. Thanks for the good hazelnuts, S & S.

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  3. Walt, thanks for the cute photo of the Renault 4.

    I am interested to see what you make with the hazelnuts.

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  4. Well, one solution might be diatomaceuos earth. It is a white powder sold in most garden centers, and it is the naturally occuring remains of ocean micro-organisms. Any insect (or weevil) that crawls through it will perish, and it doesn't take much.

    You can sprinkle it on the base of your tree trunks. To the trees, it's a mild fertilizer. It's harmless to pets and animals and good for plants - only bad for crawling insects.

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  5. Well, if you can't trust Diogenes.....

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  6. susan, I thought that was the case, but I wasn't sure. Ken's been looking things up to see what other solutions might be out there.

    jean, I thought of you when I posted that! The hazelnuts go into cakes where we would otherwise use walnuts.

    diogenes, thanks, I'll look that up. We used it back in California do deal with an overpopulation of snails and it worked well.

    starman, hehehe.

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