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Skinning Hazelnuts

Here’s the best way to remove hazelnut skins.

Here’s the best way to remove hazelnut skins.

Over the years, we've read several tips that promise the quick and easy removal of the bitter dark brown skins on hazelnuts. Most methods fall into one of two camps: roasting the nuts to dehydrate their skins before rubbing them off (with anything from a dish towel to a mesh onion bag to a wire rack) or blanching the nuts in a water-and-baking soda solution to similarly loosen the skins for easy removal.

We found that roasting removed only half the skins, no matter what was used to rub them off. Blanching the nuts in the baking soda solution worked much better. We put 1 cup of nuts in a large saucepan with 3 cups of water and 1/4 cup of baking soda and brought the mixture to a boil for four minutes. The nuts were then drained, rinsed, brushed with a towel to free the skins, and browned for 15 minutes in a 350-degree oven to remove excess moisture.

Wondering if the baking soda played an essential role, we tried the same method but omitted the baking soda. Sure enough, the skins were almost impossible to remove. The reason? The alkaline nature of baking soda extracts acidic tannins from the skins, weakening and softening them for easy removal.



Roasting hazelnuts in the oven loosens some of the skin, but patches will remain.




Blanching the hazelnuts in water and baking soda loosens their skins for easy removal.


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