While Nuts are available all-year round, it is during Autumn that the new picking season begins. This means that they are at their freshest and most flavoursome during this time.
Chestnuts are always the first cab off the rank, starting in early March. When they’re on the tree, Chestnuts are surrounded by an aggressive, spiky outer layer. But inside off this lies a beautiful, smooth brown skin, which in turn contains the fleshy centre. They need to be cooked before using, and the best way is to roast them. All you need to do is score a large “X” mark into the outer skin, and then roast in a 200c oven for around 30mins. DO NOT FORGET to cut the X though, as this lets the steam out and stops them from exploding in the oven. Once roasted, peel off the skin and enjoy as is, or toss in with Brussels sprouts or roasted veg, to add a wonderful, meaty flavour.
Walnuts are also a very popular fresh nut. These do not have to be prepared at all, but some varieties will take a bit of cunning (or a nut-cracker) to break the shell. Once you’re in though, the effort is all worth it. Local Walnuts are buttery and sweet, and are a fantastically healthy snack. One of the most popular varieties is the large “Wilson Wonder”. These are popular, not only for their great flavour, but also as they can be opened easily by hand, with no need for a nut-cracker.
Almonds, Pistachios, Macadamias and Peanuts also have their new season starting in Autumn. So if you are a nut-snacking addict, Autumn is your time to shine!