Hazelnuts have a rich, sweet flavor that makes them popular for sweet treats such as pastries, cookies and spreads. If you plan on baking or cooking with hazelnuts, skip the pre-chopped or pre-sliced bags and purchase whole hazelnuts, which will have a fresher flavor. While you can purchase whole hazelnuts that have been shelled, you typically still have to contend with their pesky, papery skins, which are notoriously difficult to peel off. Blanching the hazelnuts is the most effective way to loosen the skins so that they peel away easily.
Fill a large pot with water, measuring how many cups of water you add to the pot. Bring to a boil.
For every cup of water in the pot, add 1 tablespoon of baking soda to the boiling water.
Pour the hazelnuts into the water and allow them to blanch for one minute.
Drain the water from the hazelnuts in a colander.
Run cool water over the hazelnuts in the colander and gently rub them with your fingers so that the skin starts to peel off. After you have peeled all the hazelnuts, they will be ready to eat or toast.