Local nuts

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Nuts are one group of produce that many people do not this of as having a “season”. They are always available, either in a packet or in a dispenser. But this is somewhat misleading, as these nuts can either have been stored for an extended period, or they are possibly imported.

Autumn is the time of year when most nut varieties are harvested. Australia does not grow every nut variety, but we do grow a number of varieties very well. Almonds, Walnuts, Chestnuts, Peanuts and Macadamias are the most common locally grown varieties.

The season starts in early Autumn with plum local Chestnuts from places like Shepparton and Bright in Victoria. These are wonderfully meaty when roasted over flames or in the oven, or in casseroles or baked dishes. But always remember to cut a slit in the skin when roasting so the air can escape, less you end up with chestnuts lodged in the roof of your oven.

Almonds also start about half way through autumn, and this is the time when they will be at their most crunchy, with a sweet, milky flavour.

Walnuts generally start mid to late Autumn, and come in a number of varieties. The Chandler is the most common and usually the first variety to be harvested. However, Wilson Wonders are the most sought-after variety, for their buttery, sweet flavour. They also have the added bonus of being able to open them by hand. Just twist the shell around the centre and it should open happily for you.

While local Walnuts, Almonds, Peanuts and Macadamias will generally be available all year, now is the time they are at their best. Make the most of it!