You can determine how much moisture your hazelnuts have lost by regularly measuring their weight. You need accurate digital scales. This method won’t tell you the absolute moisture level, just whether they are stabilised.
Weigh the sample when nuts are first harvested. Re-weigh regularly until the weight is the same for 3 measurements.
Dry roast the hazelnuts in the oven at 180’C for 15 minutes or until the flesh of the nuts are lightly golden. Remove the skins by rubbing in a teatowel or between the hands. While still hot, put the nuts into the food processor and finely chop.
Melt the chocolate in a sauce pan and add the hazelnut oil, taking care not to overheat the mixture. Add to the nut mixture and process until smooth.
The warm autumn experienced this year has highlighted the importance of current research into flowering and pollination behaviour of different cultivars at different locations around the country.
In South Canterbury (Geraldine), Lansing was in flower in mid-July but of the others only Butler had any flowers. Merveille, Alex and Whiteheart were shedding pollen from early July at least. By late August, there was still some flower on Butler, Ennis and MT18/114 but Lansing flowering was over. Merveille pollen was finished but Alexandra and Butler were still shedding.
A series of field days were held around Nelson, in conjunction with the 2011 Annual General Meeting on 4 June.
By Jenny Darragh
HGA newsletter – August 2011
As part of the AGM and Field day at Queen’s Birthday Weekend, a damp Saturday morning found about 30 members at Irene & Phil Hickford’s orchard to a warm welcome and morning tea. The Hickfords have around 800 hazelnut trees 4-6 years old. These are mixed varieties of Whiteheart, Tonda Romano, Barcelona, Merveille de Bollwiller. As we admired the immaculate orchard, Phil explained that he keeps the suckers under control weekly with a $99 mini hedge trimmer and this suppressed the growth of the suckers.
Anyone who has used one of the popular blow/vac machines will appreciate that they blow far better than they suck.
With this in mind perhaps it would be worth trying to blow our nuts onto a tray rather than try to suck them up through a tube.
The Stihl 600 is a backpack blower. It has a four-stroke motor and produces a tremendous controllable blast which is ideal for shifting nuts on rough ground or in long grass, and it has no problem working nuts in damp conditions. This seems the ideal basis for a low-cost harvester.
Earthquakes and extreme weather events, both in New Zealand and globally, will have dominated our thoughts over the last year. Christchurch and Canterbury will never be the same and our best wishes for a timely recovery go out to all those affected by the quake and the continuing fallout. The hazel industry escaped any physical damage but the economic repercussions are likely to mean limited access to Government assistance in the immediate future.