Tag Archives: Hazel

365 Frankendael day 275

Today I noticed these male catkins on the big Hazel trees near my home.

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I’ve read some comments about them being poisonous. I’m not interested in eating them even if they are edible because without then on the trees we wouldn’t have a chance if collecting Hazelnuts in the autumn. This tree I’m particular is on the sunny park edge of Oosterpark and produces heaps of nuts in a good year.

365 Frankendael day 153

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I bought a few more lovely storage Kilner bottles, from a shop around the corner if my house today. On the way from it, I found a street full of well tended hollyhock plants, with this years flower stems removed and the first year plants, which should flower next summer, taking over the plots. Such a useful city herb.

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Here is another wonderful herb, seen less often in the city, Hops (Humulus lupulus), growing up and over the front fence of the NH Tropen Hotel. What a wonderful choice of herb. Perfect for a good night’s sleep. Now is a good time to gather the seed heads, they are used to stuff dream pillows and make numerous remedies.

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At the bases of the same fence other plants have crept in. this one looks like Hazel. I didn’t notice any nuts.

365 Frankendael day 146

In case you haven’t noticed, city nut foraging season is upon us.

I passed by Oosterpark today and noticed a middle aged chap, ferreting around in the undergrowth at one corner of the park, with his young son calling directions to him from outside of the fence. Ah ha Hazelnuts!, I thought and I was so not disappointed when I dived into the same bushes!

During a five minute squirrel-style frenzy, in the soil and dry leaves, I managed to amass a few dozen prime city Hazelnuts (Nl: Hazelaar, Corylus avellana) Delighted, is an understatement! Spurred on by my success, i took a quick tram ride home and sped to a copse of Hazel and Beech at the bottom end of Pythagorasstraat. That spot is a local’s favourite; There is a well trodden path into the copse and a scarcity of nuts but none the less, I didn’t go home empty handed! Later today, I’ll probably toast them all, add some to a hor chocolate and add the rest to Frank’s muesli tub. They should last a couple of weeks in that.

If you’ve never toasted Hazelnuts yourself, and if you like the taste of chocolate, then I implore you to have a go. Buy some from Odin or your local grocery store or better still, get outside and forage a handful yourself. Lear how to identify the tree and get hunting beneath them and I the branches. Green and brown hazelnuts are just fine but the free ones need to be used almost instantly whereas the others should keep up to a year, if stored properly.

How to toast hazelnuts
1. Once dusted off a little, crack them open and discard the shells (return them to the forage spot if possible). Some shells may be empty – hedge blanks. It’s a pity if you find only those.
2. Spread the nuts on a baking tray and give them just a glance of olive oil. To do this you can pour a little into a corner of the tray and toss them all around until they glisten or brush them with a little oil.
3. Set in an oven which has been preheated to about 180°C, leave them to cook for about ten minutes.
3. Remove from the oven (as with all nuts, watch out for explosions, maybe cover with a clean tea-towel as you maneuver them from the oven. Let them cool before using or eating.

The smell in your kitchen should be sweetly, nuttily, mouthwatering after that short time and if you are anything like me, I doubt that many of the toasted nuts will actually make it to a muesli bowl. Lots of recipes make good use of Hazelnuts, both savory and sweet. I think that in combination with chocolate they are at there best. So for me that could mean simply smashing a toasted nut and crumbling it over a hot chocolate or to garnish a chocolate dessert. Or it could mean incorporating it into a dish. Nut roasts are a good way to use up heaps of nuts but I rarely have heaps and I like them to last a while rather than being wolfed down in one sitting. Sprinkled over a bowl of homemade pumpkin soup is another easy way to incorporate them.

You can also make Hazelnut milk for the fresh nuts, as described in the River Cottage Handbook no. 7 Hedgerow, by John Wright (see books page). Soak a handful of shelled fresh nuts in water overnight, rinse and blitz in a liquidiser with about 400ml water or skimmed milk. Strain through a cheesecloth or similar.

365 Frankendael day 116

A quick tram stop hunt for herbs today as I ran the Honey and Herbs workshop this afternoon.

Here’s a lovely little Hazel tree growing in the lowerparts of a beech hedge.

Here’s a very vibrant Dandelion (Taraxacum officinalis agg.) growing in a dirt filled pavement crack above a bridge.

I harvested lots of Plantain (Plantago major) today, from close to de Kas restaurant. I’ll be dressing the leaves as I haven’t had time to make a succus with it and I don’t want to waste them.

365 Frankendael day 113


I’ve been to De Hortus Botanicus today and busy planting exotic things for the workshop with Suzanne from City Plot in the autumn, so not much time to visit the park. Here are just a couple of photos of a beautiful Hazel tree which stands on the outside. It’s quite easy to confuse Hazel with Beech. Both have similar leaf shapes and both have edible nuts but Hazelnuts are my favourite. Roasted they taste almost chocolaty and go really well with it, hence my fondness. I need to make some notes of where I find Hazel this year. Hazel is a very useful tree, it can be coppiced to produce dozens of fine branded, in the same manger as Willow. it’s great to see that the council road cleaners, here in Amsterdam, still use broomsticks make of Hazel. It’s perfect for the job, grows locally and is completely sustainable. I hope the council brooms don’t come from abroad, if they are, at least they are not made of plastic.

Apparently there’s a nice copse of Hazel somewhere at the bottom of Pythagorasstraat, I haven’t found it yet. It’s well worth foraging nuts when you find them. They contain such a lot of nutrition and are apparently the least polluted part of a plant, that may be harvested. That is a great thing to remember when foraging in mucky city autumn weather.