Nuts In the Shops

Almonds Available shelled or unshelled. They are covered in a thin brown skin, which can be removed by blanching in boiling water for about 2 minutes. They usually have a slightly bitter flavour.

Brazil nuts Often associated with Christmas, these long, hard brown nuts are sold both shelled and unshelled.

Chestnuts Available fresh in a tough outer skin. Remove by making a slit at both ends. Boil for about 10 minutes or place in an oven before peeling skin off. Also obtained in cans or dried, they give an unusual nutty flavour to stuffings and puddings.

Coconuts Coconuts have a fibrous brown outer shell and are traditionally associated with the fairground. They contain milk which can be drained out by making a hole at one end. When it is empty crack the coconut open to reveal its white flesh. This can be sold separately, ground and dried and is suitable for making chocolate-coated sweets and puddings. It is also used in curries.

Filberts A variety of hazel nut, completely covered with a husk.

Hazel or cob nut Shell these, using nut crackers or a heavy weight, and remove skins if necessary by blanching in boiling water for about 2 minutes. Ideal for making muesli, and using in sweet dishes.

Walnuts Available in shells or shelled for use in cakes and puddings.

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