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Bay Nuts are the fruit of the California Bay Laurel. Few people have seen (or heard) of them, because the trees don't produce enough for commercial harvests. However, I was gifted with a jar of them by a friend with a fruiting bay tree.

The way one is supposed to eat the nuts is to roast them and eat the seeds, which taste vaguely like chocolate or coffee and vaguely not. However, that's where agreement ends; roasting times and temperatures are given as:

So my question is: approximately how long, and at what temperature, should I be roasting the nuts? Does anyone have direct experience with Bay Nuts, or an authority which looks more definitive than the many blogs which lack rigorous testing of roasting conditions?

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    Well thank you very much. The "...taste vaguely like chocolate or coffee and vaguely not..." is so tantalizing that I now just have to find bay nuts myself. Which, apparently, comes quite close to finding a unicorn... – Willem van Rumpt Feb 13 '18 at 18:31
  • 'fraid so. I mean, I lived in California for 23 years and never saw them before. – FuzzyChef Feb 13 '18 at 22:45
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    Now I'm curious too! Since you have a jar of them, can you test each of these temp and times with a portion and add your opinion to the mix? ;) – beausmith Apr 24 '18 at 21:12
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It's obvious why these nuts are not mass-produced: the environmental variables are just too disparate:

  • you need to harvest them at the correct time
  • peel them correctly
  • wash them correctly
  • dry them correctly
  • roast them for the right time and the right T°

So that's why you're seeing a large number of methodologies on how to roast them: it  d e p e n d s so we will not be able to tell you how to handle your nuts exactly ¯\_(ツ)_/¯ and you need to fall back to the empirical method.


As you've only got a jar of them, it doesn't make sense to put them in an oven as the quantity is too small. That's the major difference between home cooking (small batch) and professional cooking (large batch) and in this case, you should use the non-professional method of dry-frying them instead:

  • Take a pan large enough to contain all of the nuts
  • Put the pan on medium heat and dry-fry one single nut
  • Put the pan on medium-high and dry-fry one single nut
  • Repeat with multiple heats and times until you've got the one single perfectly roasted nut

Now pour the jar in the pan ensuring the nuts are not stacked on top of one another and are all touching the base of the pan just like the one single nut did and repeat the process for the single perfect nut for all of the nuts you've got left in your jar.

P.S. And if you're still not totally nuts about how to handle these nuts, you might actually be able to enjoy your nuts! ;-)
P.P.S. Anyone else reading this who has an entire crate of these: yes you can use the empirical method for your particular oven, for your particular settings for your individual taste too... :-)

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