When to pick hazelnuts from tree?

In the Garden

Q: This year our hazelnut tree was loaded with nuts, but as usual the squirrels beat us to the hazelnuts. How do you know when they’re ripe for picking?

A: Other than going to the extreme effort to cover the tree with some kind of mesh netting, it’s truly a challenge to beat the squirrels to hazelnuts. Most books tell you to wait to harvest until the nuts begin falling from the tree. If you follow that rule, you’re going to have a lot of fat and happy squirrels and there will be few, if any, nuts for you to enjoy.

The nuts contained in the jacket-like husk are ripe and ready to pick when they’re brown and easy to dislodge, and this often occurs well before the nuts begin falling from the tree. The squirrels begin feasting as soon as the nuts are ripe enough to eat, but still in the tree. Therefore, the best way to know when to harvest is to watch the squirrels. When they begin eating the nuts in earnest, it’s time to pick.

Gardening Events

Northwest Horticultural Society Presents “Dig This: Stylish Gardening for Savvy Gardeners”:


Celebrate Arbor Day:

9 a.m. to noon Saturday, Oct. 15. Join mayor Ed Murray to celebrate Seattle’s Arbor Day. Activities include volunteer tree planting, tree-walk tours, apple-cider pressing, an ‘Ask an Arborist’ booth and more. Cost: Free. Address: Virgil Flaim Park, 2700 N.E. 123rd St., Seattle.


Northwest Perennial Alliance presents “Butterflies of Cascadia: Life Histories and Conservation” with Dr. David G. James:

1 p.m. Sunday, Oct. 16 (doors open at noon for book signing and plant sales). Cost: Free for NPA members, $15 for nonmembers at the door. Address: Bellevue Botanical Garden Education Center, 12001 Main St., Bellevue.


Some might still be too green, but the vast majority should be ripe enough to dry, and they will store well. Dry the nuts by spreading them out onto trays, turning them every few days, in a warm, dry, well-ventilated location for two to three weeks before scraping away the papery husk. They can be stored in or out of the shell. For a real taste treat, try roasting them.

Q: Why doesn’t our climbing hydrangea bloom? I have a nice bushy one on my back fence, in the shade. We planted it there years ago. It gets plenty of water, but nary a bud.

A: Climbing hydrangeas (Hydrangea anomala petiolaris) are beautiful deciduous vines featuring attractive large elongated white lace-cap flowers backed by dark-green, heart-shaped leaves.

Strong growers, these shade-tolerant clinging vines are notoriously slow to get established and can remain stunted for up to five years before taking off in growth, but once they do, can easily grow to more than 80 (yes, 80) feet tall.

There are a number of reasons a climbing hydrangea won’t bloom. The most common is that it’s too young. These long-lived vines sometimes take seven or more years to mature enough to start blooming.

A climbing hydrangea also won’t bloom if it is pruned too hard. These vines flower only on last season’s growth, so if it’s being cut back hard every year to keep it in bounds, flowering will be sporadic, at best.

There is one other possible reason. Although they need protection from afternoon sunshine, they don’t tend to produce well if the conditions they’re growing in are too dark. They flower best when they are located in morning sunshine or bright forest conditions, but rarely blossom in deep shade.

The good news is that if you think your climbing hydrangea is in an area that is too dark, you can easily move it in winter when the plant is dormant. Unfortunately, you’ll have to cut the vines to within inches of the ground, because once removed from a structure, the branches lose the capability to cling. Cutting back that hard will of course make for a delay in flowering, but it’ll bloom within a few years. That’s better than leaving it in deep shade where it might never bloom at all.

American hazelnuts and hybrid American x European hazelnuts, Garnished with black-eyed Susan

If I had to choose a favorite wild edible, it would be the hazelnut. Rich in protein, fat, and flavor, hazelnuts make a satisfying snack, and can be used in cooking wherever you would use their commercially available counterparts (called filberts or hazelnuts). The two species native to North America are the American hazel (Corylus americana) and beaked hazel (Corylus cornuta). Both are common shrubs, and if you find a few specimens that produce well, foraging for hazelnuts is as easy as going to the grocery store. Read on, and you will learn how to identify and where to look for wild hazelnuts.

Foraging for Hazelnuts – How to identify, where to find, and how to harvest one of the best wild edibles.

General description of American hazel and beaked hazel

With good sun exposure, both American and beaked hazel grow as multi-stemmed shrubs that reach about 12 feet here in central New England. I have read that beaked hazel can grow to 25 feet, but perhaps that is in the more southerly portions of its range, because I’ve yet to see one reach anywhere near that height, here. In full sun, both species grow as large, dense, roundish shrubs, but in the shade they are often small and spindly. Such specimens are extremely common in the forest understory in my neck of the woods, but they do not produce many nuts.

It is said that beaked and American hazels occasionally grow as single stemmed trees, but I have never seen one grow like that in the wild. (In contrast, most Corylus species used for commercial production of hazelnuts usually do grow as trees.)

Hazelnut twigs and flowers

Hazelnut twigs and catkins

While the leaves make identification a lot easier, it’s fun to try to find these shrubs in winter and early spring, before they leaf out. Both species have brownish-gray twigs that don’t immediately stand out from other shrubs, but the catkins (male flowers) can be easily recognized in winter, well before leaf out.

You can even use the catkins to distinguish between American and beaked hazel, for those of the former species are borne on little stalks (as in my photo) while those of the beaked hazel are sessile (attached directly to the twig, with no connecting stalk). In winter, the brown catkins are small and tight, sometimes no more than an inch long. In early spring, the catkins release pollen as they grow to several inches in length.

Foraging for Hazelnuts: female hazelnut flower

The tiny, red, fringe-like female flowers bloom in early spring, by mid-April here in Massachusetts. They are so inconspicuous that few people ever notice them unless a botanist points them out. But tiny plant structures fascinate me, so I wait for these little jewels every spring, and that’s when anticipation of the year’s hazelnut harvest begins for me. The flowers of American hazel and beaked hazel are virtually identical, as far as I know. At least, I cannot distinguish between them with the naked eye.

Hazels need good sun exposure to bloom well, and because blooming is necessary for nut production, those in sunny spots will be more productive. Pollination is also necessary for nut production. Both Corylus americana and Corylus cornuta are pollinated by wind, and require cross pollination to produce fruit.

Hazelnut leaves

Foraging for Hazelnuts: hazelnut Leaves

The toothed, oval leaves are alternately arranged on the twig. The leaves of Corylus americana are shown in the photo, and those of Corylus cornuta are almost identical. Note that in the photo, taken in August, you can see small, tight, green catkins. These will become the male flowers which will shed pollen next year. By August, the current year’s catkins have long since shed their pollen, and most of them have fallen off.

The nuts of American hazel and beaked hazel

Foraging for Hazelnuts: photo shows hazelnuts wrapped in involucres

Each nut is wrapped in a modified leaf called an involucre. These leafy green wrappings make the nuts very difficult to see, and it doesn’t help that they tend to be hidden under leaves. But it’s a little easier if you know what you’re looking for.

Cluster of beaked hazelnuts

American hazel involucres have fringed edges which can be pried apart once the nut plumps out. The nuts can grow singly or in clusters of up to about 12. Beaked hazel involucres are covered with pinchy fuzz and taper into a long, beak-like end. Beaked hazelnuts typically grow singly or in clusters: up to 11 according to my reading, but I haven’t seen clusters of more than 3.

Both American and beaked hazelnuts are smaller than commercially produced European hazelnuts. That’s why the native American species are not usually grown commercially – people prefer the larger European nuts. But I think wild American hazelnuts taste better. They are slightly sweeter and milder in flavor.

Foraging for Hazelnuts. Photo shows European hazelnuts left, hybrid American x European hazelnuts center, and American hazelnuts right

Where to forage for hazelnuts

First, you need to know if they grow in your area. American hazel ranges over most of eastern North America. Beaked hazel ranges from the southern half of Canada to the northern half of the US, generally, but also extends down into Georgia and Alabama. These widely ranging shrubs are said to be tolerant of many soil types, as long as drainage is good. But in my experience, they are not even that picky about drainage, for the most productive individuals I’ve found of either species grow at wetland edges.

Once you know you are foraging within the range of one or both species, and you have learned the basics of identification, the key is to find bushes that produce a lot of nuts. You’ll find the best producers growing in sun exposed clumps.

Why good sun exposure? Because sunlight helps them bloom more profusely. Since fertilized female flowers develop into nuts, more flowers mean more nuts.

Why clumps? Remember that hazel flowers are pollinated by wind, which does not reliably deliver pollen from one individual to a far away neighbor. Those growing in clumps, on the other hand, can be easily pollinated by close neighbors.

So remember: look for highly productive bushes growing clumps in sunny areas. Both species often grow in oak/pine forests, but produce well only if the tree canopy is open, allowing plenty of sunshine to reach the hazels.

How to harvest wild hazelnuts

Clusters of hazelnuts in their involucres. Cluster at left is ready to pick, even though involucres are green. Cluster at right is riper, but some nuts have fallen out.

The nuts of Corylus americana begin to turn brown before the involucres do, as you can see in the photo. And that’s when you want to pick them: when the nuts are beginning to turn brown but the involucres are still green. By the time the involucres turn brown, many of the nuts will have fallen to the ground or will have been harvested by a wild animal. So if you hope to get some nuts, you must learn to recognize the clusters when they are still green. The cluster on the left in the photo is ripe enough for harvesting. The cluster on the right with the brown involucres has already lost some of its nuts. Don’t wait that long to harvest them.

If you find an American hazel bush packed with nuts, you can harvest quite a lot of them within a very short time. Pull entire clusters right off the bush. If you like, you can pick the nuts out of the involucres right away, but the nuts are much easier to remove if you first allow the clusters to dry. Spread them out in a dry place, and after several days, the nuts will be easy to pluck.

A half hour’s worth of harvesting of hazelnut clusters

To make sure they are good and dry for long-term storage, I put the nuts, free of involucres but still within their shells, out in the sun for about a week. I usually put them on an old screen set on a wheelbarrow, to ensure good air circulation while the nuts dry.

Baskets of hazelnuts. All of these came from the clusters in the photo above.

In his book Nature’s Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants, Sam Thayer says that in most years, most of the nuts of American hazel are either empty or wormy. This may vary regionally, as I have not found that to be the case here in east-central Massachusetts. I would estimate that about 80% of the American hazelnuts I harvest contain good kernels.

Beaked hazelnuts are more difficult to extract from their pinchy involucres. Don’t try to remove them before the involucres have been dried or rotted. Dry them as described for American hazels, or rot them as Sam Thayer does. He buries them in wet soil for a month, during which time the involucres soften, so that the fuzz is no longer pinchy. If you choose to dry rather than rot the involucres, you might want to wear gloves while removing them or you will get a lot of little spines stuck in your hands.

Both species of hazelnut are delicious, but ease of husk removal is a decision maker for me. In fact, I like American hazels so much that I’ve planted five bushes in my yard. So now I do most of my hazelnut harvesting right outside the back door. But, as an admirer of wild plants, I still delight in studying the leaves, twigs, and inconspicuous flowers of wild hazels, and partaking of their fruits, during my late summer wanderings.

Preparing and eating wild hazelnuts

Wild hazelnuts can be used in any recipe that calls for hazelnuts, for the flavor is very similar, if not better, than the commercially produced nuts. I sprinkle them in yogurt, oatmeal, and salads, and use them in baked goods. I make nut butter and chocolate hazelnut bark, and add them to ice cream. Check out my recipes for autumnberry hazelnut ice cream pie, and elderberry ice cream with chocolate hazelnut crunch.


Raw hazelnuts, ready for roasting.

(Taylor Smith/Hillsboro Argus)

Early this week came the news that a frost had damaged the hazelnut crop in Turkey, which produces 70 percent of the world’s supply of hazelnuts.

While the news was bad for Nutella lovers, it was good for Oregon’s hazelnut farmers. They grow 99 percent of the U.S. crop.

When The Oregonian posted the story on its Facebook page, the hue and cry was not about Nutella, it was about what to call the nuts: hazelnuts or filberts.

Post by The Oregonian.

So what is it?

For answers, we went to the growers, well, their industry representatives, the Hazelnut Marketing Board, the Oregon Hazelnut Commission, the Nut Growers Society of Oregon, Washington and British Columbia, and the Associated Oregon Hazelnut Industries.

Their take? There’s no wrong answer. Filbert is of French origin; Hazelnut is coined by the English. And that seems to be the distinction.

Or it could be a regional thing, as the Oregon State University extension service asserts in advice about growing them.

The Legislature, in 1989, named it the state nut, but on its Blue Book website calls it the hazelnut, or filbert, scientific name: Corylus avellana. (Not helpful, Blue Book.)

One thing that does seem clear is that George Dorris is responsible for the birth of the modern hazelnut industry in Oregon, as Anne Saker of The Oregonian wrote in a lovely treatise in 2009.

But, back to the news at hand.

Oregon growers have been ramping up to meet growing demand for hazelnuts, particularly for spreads like Nutella, as Elliot Njus of The Oregonian wrote this week. Michael Klein of the Oregon Hazelnut Marketing Board told Njus that in the last seven years hazelnut acreage has grown in Oregon by 50 percnt.

This year’s crop estimate should be out later this month.

— Sue Jepsen

Hazelnut Trees Are Easy!

Native hybrid hazelnuts provide a crop that is consistently in short supply, well known by consumers, and nearly grow themselves.
by Dawn and Jeff Zarnowski
Tasty and healthy hazelnuts are used in many food products desired by consumers and are chronically in short supply. Almost all hazelnuts consumed in North America are sourced from either Oregon or Turkey. Yet, hazelnut trees are native to the eastern half North America from Louisiana to Georgia in the south, to Manitoba and Quebec in the north. The native hazelnut trees (Corylus americana) are hardy, disease resistant and are very tolerant of a wide range of growing conditions, and yet there is a shortage of nuts. The native nuts tend to be small and are not as tasty as the European hazelnuts (Corylus avellana) that that have been selected for quality for hundreds and thousands of years. This is where hybridization of the two hazelnut species for the past century has yielded new varieties that have the best qualities of both. Hazelnut organizations have formed to promote growing this native crop with improved qualities.
Another wonderful thing about hazelnut trees is you don’t have to wait long before the tree will bear nuts for you to eat. Hazel trees start bearing in as little as 4 years and heavy yields in year six or seven. Also, you can choose to grow it as a bush or a single stem tree. A multi-stem bush will form if you don’t mow or cut down the shoots that grow near the base of the tree. In bush form it will grow 8 feet to 12 feet tall. In bush form, the hazelnut allows for easy hand picking of the nuts, and carefree environmental plantings for erosion control or as a hedge. If you choose to grow it as a single stem tree it will grow 14 feet to 16 feet tall and nearly as wide. Once the tree is big enough to shade the base, the shoots won’t grow. The native hazelnut tree is adaptable and easy to grow; but, it took many generations of hybridizing to generate native trees with large tasty nuts.

Hybrid hazel trees with jumbo grade sized nuts are successfully grown without pesticides or fungicides in USDA zones 4b/5a, in the Finger Lakes region of New York.

The reason the European hazelnuts (a.k.a. filberts) were grown on the west coast was to keep the tasty European trees far away from the native trees that harbor a blight known as Eastern Filbert Blight (EFB) caused by the fungus Anisogramma anomala. Also, the tender European varieties tend to be less cold tolerant and are better suited for USDA zones 7/8.
Hazel orchards in the Northwest are now slowly being decimated by EFB as the disease has spread throughout the region. Hybridization of native blight resistant hazel trees to the European hazel in North America has been documented since 1921 by Carl Weschcke. The Northern Nut Growers Association (NNGA) has been in existence for over 100 years. NNGA is a group of hobbyist and professionals that grow and breed nut trees. NNGA and similar associations such as Society of Ontario Nut Growers (SONG) have assisted with hazelnut improvement for over 94 years. In the past few years, more organizations have formed to promote hazelnut trees as a food crop throughout North America.
Hazelnut production is expanding with the Ontario Hazelnut Association that formed just a few years ago to promote hazel orchards just north and west of the New York border. Ferrero, the makers of Nutella, is a $8.8 billion dollar company, that consumes 25% of the world’s crop, has a massive factory, just over the New York border, in Brantford Ontario Canada. There is Upper Midwest Hazelnut Development Initiative (UMHDI) to develop hazelnut cultivars and orchards in Wisconsin, Michigan and surrounding area. The Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium was formed to research and promote hybrid hazelnuts utilizing Rutgers University, Oregon State University, University of Nebraska–Lincoln and the Arbor Day foundation. Support to grow hazelnut trees has expanded greatly in the last few years as new hybrid trees come to market.
From a financial standpoint, hazelnuts are an ideal specialty crop, as they are in continuous short supply and have high profit margins. Retail pricing for in-shell hazelnuts averages $6.00 a pound and shelled raw bulk hazelnuts are currently selling for $14.99 a pound in local grocery stores. The cost per pound of hazelnuts currently limits consumption. The future for increased hazelnut consumption is excellent, as Europeans consume up to eight times what an American consumes.

How controlled pollination is done at a breeding orchard in Cortland, NY. New hybrids of trees are generated by controlled pollination. Pollen is first blocked from receptive flowers by Tyvek bags. Once the pollen shed is done the flowers are then hand pollinated from another quality tree.

Hazelnuts provide a very profitable income well above what any annual grain crop can, after the necessary 6-year wait before the trees produce a significant amount of nuts. Assuming only 2000 pounds of nuts (up to 2800 lbs. should be attainable) at direct wholesale pricing of only $2.50 per pound (we currently sell for $3.50 per pound) amounts to $5000.00 per acre. In contrast, the average corn crop yields 160 bushels per acre in New York and at a current price of under $4.00 per bushel equals only $640 per acre. Hazels require similar annual input costs as corn, and organic sustainability should be readily achievable as the hazel tree is native unlike most annual crops grown.

Hazel flowers are wind-pollinated, so no bees or butterflies are needed for pollination. Hazels have separate male flowers, called catkins, that form in late summer and shed pollen early in the spring before leaves emerge. Female flowers emerge from a bud and require pollen from a second tree, because its own pollen is self-incompatible. Therefore, two pollen compatible strains of hybrid trees are planted in an orchard.
The majority of the cost to establish an orchard is in the first two years. First the field must be cleared of rocks, with pH adjusted to range from 6.5 to 7.0pH. Deer fencing for the orchard and individual tree protection is suggested. The animals find that the nut trees are tasty and the leaves, buds, and bark are readily consumed by deer, moles, voles, and mice. Protection is needed for the first three years until the tree is large enough to not be bothered by any animal. Young hazel trees need irrigation to ensure good survivability and growth, until the roots grow deep enough to not need irrigation thereafter.
Ideally, a commercial orchard will use clones of hazel trees with known characteristics. Clones of hazels are traditionally done with layering. Layering is accomplished by encouraging the shoots that are pushed up from the roots of the mother tree to grow its own roots. The shoot (a.k.a. sucker) is cut away from the mother tree and replanted on proper spacing. Sources of cloned trees are rapidly expanding using new hybrids that have proven themselves over many years of careful watching and measuring. There are numerous sources of seedling trees and a conscientious tree nursery will only use seed from the best trees. Hazelnut trees can be planting any time of year. Please verify that the trees are hybridized for many generations to help ensure your buying quality trees. Trees are available all year long and can be sourced from the following list and several other nurseries:

  • Grimo Nut Nursery layered and seedling trees at http://www.grimonut.com/
  • Oikos Tree Crops seedling trees at https://oikostreecrops.com/
  • Z’s Nutty Ridge layered and seedling trees at http://znutty.com/

Hazelnuts offer a great opportunity for and any agricultural system from a backyard to a large farm. Different agricultural systems incorporating hazelnuts include: silvopasture, permaculture, agroforestry and woody agriculture. These systems utilize trees as an integral part of a sustainable agricultural practice. We believe this trend will continue to grow and lead both environmentally and economically over annual grain crops.
Dawn and Jeff have been growing and breeding hazelnut trees for over 23 years at Z’s Nutty Ridge LLC and can be reached at Find us at: [email protected]
Like us at: https://www.facebook.com/zsnutty.ridge
Office Phone: 607 756 4409

How to Identify Hazelnuts

hazelnuts image by Julia Syrykh from Fotolia.com

Hazelnuts are a distinctive kind of nut, with a rounded shape and a smoky flavor. They are mostly grown in Turkey and exported around the world. However, in the United States, many hazelnuts come from farmers in Portland, Oregon. You can eat hazelnuts raw, roasted or pureed, and they are used in many desserts including biscuits, pastries and chocolates.

Hazelnuts are a good source of protein, E and B Vitamins, earning them the Food and Drug Administration heart healthy seal of approval. Hazelnuts grow on trees in clusters. Whether you are trying to identify a nut on a tree or alone, the nuts’ special shape and color should give it away.

green hazelnuts image by Dumitrescu Ciprian from Fotolia.com

Study the tree first. The American Hazel is normally between eight and fifteen feet tall, and it has a spread of five to ten feet. See if these dimensions match. The tree can have many branches that start lower, making it look like a shrub more than a tree.

Check the shape of the leaves. The hazelnut tree has heart-shaped leaves that alternate along the branches. The leaves are paler on the back than the front, with a pointed tip and doubly serrated edges that look like the edge of a bread knife. The leaves are between three to five inches long and two to three inches wide.

hazelnuts image by Witold Krasowski from Fotolia.com

Look at the size of the nut. It should be between a half-inch to an inch long, and it should be a little less than a half-inch in diameter. The outer shell is very smooth and has a warm brown color, except at the round base of the nut where it was attached to the husk on the tree. This base is a lighter, tan color and has a slightly rough texture.

Crack the shell open. The easiest way is to place the nut inside a nutcracker and squeeze. If you don’t have a nutcracker, use your shoe and a rock to crack the shell on the ground. Hazelnut shells are not thick like walnuts. They are thin and brittle, and they may have sharp edges when broken.

hazelnut image by Andrei Nekrassov from Fotolia.com

Look at the kernel inside. It should be roughly round, yet lumpy all over. The nutmeat has a thin, brown coating that is also edible. The coating will also have a papery texture and can be scraped off with your fingernail. Underneath the dark brown layer, the kernel is a light tan color and softer. If you press directly into the flesh of the nut with your nail, it should leave a visible mark. It does not have a strong smell, but you may be able to pick up something of its sweet, smoky flavor by sniffing closely.

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Calling all Hazelnut lovers! We’re going to show you how to roast hazelnuts. It’s easier than you could have imagined! Roasted hazelnuts are a great addition to salads, roasted vegetables, and desserts, and make a great healthy snack too!


If you are a fan of Swiss or Italian chocolates, or if you are lucky enough to live near a French crêperie, you are no doubt a fan of the rich, sweet, buttery- cream tasting hazelnut.

Hazelnuts (also known as filberts) are popular in confections around the world because of their deliciously sweet taste. We like to use them in savory dishes, too; and find their smooth flavor lends itself to many dishes that need an extra dose of crunch and nuttiness.

Some great recipes you may want to try are our Persimmon Fennel Salad, 10-Minute High-Protein Lemon Pasta, or our tangy Fennel, Blood Orange, Hazelnut Salad.

Nutella fans will love our healthier Chocolate Hummus or our incredible Date-Cocoa-Hazelnut Bars made without extra sugar!

We love to roast hazelnuts for the extra crunch, nuttiness, and mellow flavor that roasting provides, and we often snack on the roasted nuts instead of popcorn or chips on family movie night. We also like to include them as a topping for yogurt, pancakes, ice cream, and even chocolate and vanilla cakes!

Here are some tips on how to roasted hazelnuts and make them irresistible:

  • Lay raw hazelnuts out on a cookie sheet and roast 350 degrees for 15 minutes.
  • Let cool completely on the baking sheet (they’ll keep cooking until cooled)
  • To remove the outer skin, rub with a clean kitchen towel once cool (We don’t mind the skins, though!)
  • Resist the temptation to eat the hazelnuts before they are completely cooled. It is worth the wait 😉
  • Store nuts in a medium-sized jar with a tight lid in the freezer. They taste great, even frozen!
  • Approximately 28 hazelnuts measure 1 ounce

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Calling all Hazelnut lovers! We’re going to show you how to roast hazelnuts. It’s easier than you could have imagined! Roasted hazelnuts are a great addition to salads, roasted vegetables, and desserts, and make a great healthy snack too!


1 pound raw hazelnuts


  1. Preheat the oven to 350F. We like lining a large baking sheet with parchment paper, but hazelnuts can be roasted straight on the baking sheet
  2. Roast for 15 minutes
  3. Remove the baking sheet from the oven and allow them to cool completely (the hazelnuts will continue cooking)
  4. We don’t mind the hazelnut outer skins, but if you do, rub the cooled hazelnuts, one handful at a time, with a clean kitchen towel
  5. Store them in the freezer in medium-size glass jars with a tight lid or quart size freezer bags



Grown in Europe and the US, hazelnuts are encased in a smooth, hard brown shell but are most commonly sold shelled. The sweet-tasting, cream-coloured kernel is small and round, with a pointed tip. Its thin, dark brown skin is faintly bitter, so some people like to remove this before eating.

Also known as cobnuts or filberts, hazelnuts are good eaten raw but the flavour takes on a more mellow, sweeter character when they are roasted. Like almost all nuts, they have a high fat content, which means they’ll go rancid pretty quickly if not refrigerated.

Find out about the health benefits of nuts.

Choose the best

Hazelnuts in their shells look good, but they will go rancid more quickly. Ready-shelled nuts in airtight packaging last longer.

Prepare it

Hazelnuts in their shells can be opened using a nut cracker. To remove the dark skin, place the nuts on a baking sheet in a single layer and bake on a medium heat for 10-12 minutes. They are ready when the skins begin to split and the kernels turn golden. Tip them into a clean teatowel and rub – the skins should come off quite easily.

Store it

Unopened packets of hazelnuts should be stored in a cool, dry place – they’ll last for up to 3 months. Once opened, they should be kept in an airtight container.

Cook it

Raw as a snack, or added to muesli. Chopped and used in cakes or crumble toppings. Ground finely to make flour for baking.


Try almond, macadamia nut or pecan.

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