SONG News January 2011 no.90
In this Issue...

Hazelnuts in Flower: The photo on the left are the Male Catkins extending on a nice warm March day, and the photo on the right are the Female flowers just waiting. Come to the February SONG meeting and find out more about Hazelnuts, orchards, processing, and lots more.

Fall SONG Meeting

The SONG meeting was held at the Centre for Urban Ecology building in Humber college in Toronto on Saturday, October 16, 2010.

Melanie Sifton, Humber College representative was introduced to us and provided us with a tour of the nut plantings on the College property that bordered the Humber River. The Hippodrome Bubble building was booked as the location for the spring auction to be held on Sunday, May 1, 2011. The building is located right beside the parking lot for easy convenience.

A sample print copy of the new SONG book written by Ernie Grimo called Nut Tree Ontario- A Practical Guide (125 pages) was shown. Andre Flys provided the best price for the printing. The motion to pay $9425 to have 1300 full colour copies paid by SONG was passed with all in favour.

Discussion followed that it may be possible to receive a government Award for Agricultural Innovation of $5000 to assist in paying for the book. It was decided to apply for this award.

A discussion followed concerning how the book would be used or sold. Grimo suggested that the book would be given free to new members who take out a 3 year membership in SONG/ECSONG. No set price was made for current members, nor was a price set for the sale of the book to non-members or for bulk orders. It was thought that electronic copies could be sent to members that requested it.

Olga Crocker talked about the heartnut cracker that was being developed by engineering students at the University of Windsor. Two models of the cracking mechanism have been developed. The next year will be spent on producing a feed and sorting system for the nut cracker.

Reports on the crop year were given by several growers. Discussion followed about the hazelnut project led by Dr. Adam Dale. Hazelnut trees from local growers as well as from Oregon were planted at two locations, the Simcoe Station and Vineland Station. Walter Garrison, A doctoral student at the University of Guelph has been developing the protocol for tissue culturing the local selections. 'Geneva' has been cultured. The other selections so far have given difficulty.

The meeting was closed and a tour of the nut plantings followed.
Submitted by Ernie Grimo

Asian Pea-Pistachio Butter

If you're a shoot-from-the-hip, last-minute cook, you'll be glad you have this recipe in your file. Just remember to defrost the peas and you'll have this appetizer on the table in 5 minutes flat. Surround the appetizer bowl with some whole-grain crackers or pita wedges and spreading knives and enjoy this zesty treat. You can also put this spread to work as a sandwich filling or a garnish over vegetable or grain dishes.

Yield: 5 to 6 servings
1-1/2 cups frozen peas, thawed
1/2 cup raw pistachios
2 tablespoons toasted sesame seeds
2 teaspoons low sodium soy sauce
2 teaspoons fresh lemon juice
1/2 teaspoon Chinese 5-spice powder
Dash cayenne (optional)
1 whole radish, radish slices, or radish rose

1. Combine the peas, pistachios, sesame seeds, soy sauce, lemon juice, 5-spice powder, and cayenne, if using, in the food processor and process for 1 to 2 minutes, or until the mixture is thick, well blended, and lightly textured. Stop the machine once or twice to scrape down the sides of the work bowl.

2. Spoon the spread into an attractive serving bowl, garnish with the radish, and serve. Recipe by Zel Alien from her book The Nut Gourmet.

Frequently Asked Questions

QUESTION: I have tried to grow trees from the nuts and nothing comes up. How do you sprout nut seeds?

ANSWER: Most temperate tree nuts including walnuts, butternuts, heartnuts, hazelnuts, hickory, pecan, chestnuts, etc., need to be stratified before they will germinate. Collect fresh nuts in the fall and fall plant them as squirrels do, one or two inches deep. If squirrels are plentiful in your area, you can duplicate nature's way, by mixing the nuts with a wet medium like peat moss and store them in a plastic bag in the refrigerator to give them the cold, moist conditioning needed to set up the embryo to sprout. Chestnuts should be stored in almost dry peat or sphagnum moss. Plant them in the spring as weather conditions permit. Cover the planting site with chicken wire to keep the squirrels from digging up the nuts. Where squirrel and other nut pest pressure is high, form the chicken wire into a tent over the nuts and bury the sides and ends 20 cm into the ground.

You can plant the nuts in a tall pot and sprout the nuts indoors. A 2 litre (quart) milk carton opened to utilize the full height with drainage holes poked in the bottom can be used as a planting pot. A well drained soil mixture is best to get them started. Plant the stratified seed with the top end facing the centre, just under the surface. Place in a room temperature room to sprout.

Provided by SONG. Feel free to copy with a credit.