How To Skin Hazelnuts With The Help Of A Cooling Rack

With their rich flavor and crunchy texture, hazelnuts are a delightful addition to many dishes, from sweet pastries to savory salads. However, preparing them can be a bit of a challenge, especially when it comes to skinning them. The good news is that with the help of a cooling rack and using the rubbing technique, this task becomes much easier.

The process starts with roasting the hazelnuts to help loosen the skins and enhance the nuts' natural flavor. First, set your oven to 350 degrees Fahrenheit. As it is preheating, place a cooling rack over a rimmed baking sheet. Next, spread the nuts in a single layer on the cooling rack and pop them in the oven to roast for 10 to 15 minutes. You'll know they're ready when the skins start cracking, and a rich, nutty aroma fills the air.

Once done, remove the hazelnuts from the oven and let them cool slightly. Now, to skin them, gently roll and press the nuts against the cooling rack. The grid of the rack acts as an abrasive surface, helping to peel off the skins without crushing the nuts. As you do this, the skins will fall through the rack and onto the baking sheet below, keeping your workspace clean and tidy. Continue this process until most of the skins have been removed. Don't worry about the few remaining bits of skin because they won't significantly affect the taste or texture of your dishes.

Same rubbing technique, alternative kitchen tool

While the cooling rack method is effective for skinning your hazelnuts, there's another kitchen tool that can offer similar results — a wire mesh strainer. This option is particularly useful if you don't have a cooling rack or are working with a smaller batch of nuts. The strainer's fine grid is excellent for gently rubbing off the skins while keeping the nuts contained.

Start by roasting the hazelnuts just as you would for the cooling rack method. Once the nuts are ready and have cooled slightly, transfer them to the wire mesh strainer. Hold the strainer over a bowl to catch the skins. Now, using your hands, roll and press the hazelnuts gently against the mesh. The friction created by the mesh will help peel off the skins. You'll probably notice that this method is a bit more hands-on compared to the cooling rack version, but it's equally effective.

As you continue to rub, you'll soon be left with beautifully skinned hazelnuts. Again, any small pieces of skin remaining attached aren't a big deal, as they won't impact the taste of your recipe. The rubbing technique using either the cooling rack or the wire mesh strainer is a straightforward and efficient way to skin hazelnuts. It eliminates the need for tedious peeling and ensures you're left with the perfect ingredient for your cooking and baking needs.