Many of the things that foragers present you with can, to say the least, be a little suspect at first glance. However, hazel nuts don’t fall into this camp, they are easy to find, are unlikely to be confused with anything else, require little by way of preparation and they even taste good!
Going to the woods and coming back with bags, hats and pockets full of nuts brings back many childhood memories. Hazel nut are also strongly associated with Christmas in my mind, bowls of nuts being placed out on the side “just in case you fancied them,” as if the mountain of turkey with all the trimmings was likely to ever leave room for such snacks!
Nonetheless, armed with these fond childhood memories I have been covetously watching some hazel bushes and their slowly maturing crop of nuts along a nearby abandoned railway line. However, after watching them throughout August and September I took my eye off the “ball” for a week and nearly missed them! The expected harvest of plenty suddenly become a very meagre one indeed! Whether I had been beaten to the nuts by squirrels or worse still other foragers, or the ripe nuts had simply fallen off and disappeared into the undergrowth I can’t say, however, if I am honest there were ample nuts remaining and so, after an all too long a gap I have succeeded in collecting nuts once more and next year I will be more vigilant!
How about you? Have you been out foraging? What did you find?