How to Harvest Hazelnuts

How to Harvest Hazelnuts

I just love hazelnuts. The buttery crunch of the toasted nuts is so delicious that I decided I better start growing and harvesting my own.

A vertical image of two hands inspecting hazelnuts for harvest pictured in bright sunshine with foliage and blue sky in the background. To the top and bottom of the frame is green and white printed text.our guide to growing hazelnuts.

And harvesting is even easier! Whether you grow your own shrubs or trees, or find them in the wild, it is absolutely worth knowing how to harvest them yourself.

Read on to learn about how to harvest and preserve hazelnuts, with some bonus recipe ideas.

Understanding the Growing Cycle

Hazelnuts are unique in that they develop buds in the fall, which open into flowers in the late winter or early spring.

The male flowers are long yellow catkins and the female flowers are very small, appearing like tiny red threads at the end of the twigs.

A horizontal image of hazelnut flowers hanging from the tree with blue sky on a soft focus background.When to Harvest

It takes about three to five years from planting until the trees are old enough to produce a harvest.

A horizontal image of hazelnut trees growing in a grove in the garden pictured in light sunshine.How to Harvest

Harvesting takes very little effort. Since the nuts drop from the tree as they ripen, all you have to do is collect them from the ground below the tree.

I recommend placing tarps under the trees to collect them once they fall, or simply rake them into a pile.

Foraging for Wild Nuts

If you don’t have the time or space to grow your own, keep an eye on forest edges and stream banks for wild hazel shrubs.

A close up of cobnuts growing on the tree surrounded by a green casing, surrounded by foliage, pictured in light sunshine with foliage in soft focus in the background.Preserving

After collecting, the nuts must be dried for storage.

It is easiest to wait until the clusters are dry to remove the nuts from the bracts.

A close up horizontal image of a wicker basket filled with freshly harvested, ripe hazelnuts, on a soft focus background.dehydrator set to 90-105°F.

In the shell, they can be stored at room temperature for several months.

Shelled, eat them within a few weeks or store them in the refrigerator for up to a year. To increase their shelf life, wait to process them until just before use.

Recipes and Cooking Ideas

Hazelnuts have a delightfully sweet buttery crunch that is hard to mimic.

A close up horizontal image of a black pan containing roasted hazelnuts.A close up of a ceramic bowl containing a green salad topped with slices of pear and hazelnuts, set on a wooden surface, with pears and lemons on a white fabric in the background.Photo by Nikki Cervone.

Serve up this simple salad with arugula, bosc pears, dried currants, and toasted hazelnuts at your next dinner party, or enjoy it on its own for a refreshing lunch.

Check out the recipe on our sister site, Foodal.

There is nothing quite like the pairing of hazelnut and chocolate.

A close up top down picture of a white bowl containing homemade nutella spread set on a blue fabric background.Photo by Fanny Slater.

If you are looking for something heavenly to do with hazelnuts, try out this recipe for homemade Nutella on Foodal.

What better way to spend an afternoon than by filling your house with the smell of roasting hazelnuts and melting chocolate?

Smear this incredible spread on toast or graham crackers, or enjoy it as a dip with strawberries.

If, like me, you can’t turn down a bowl of pasta with rich, nutty pesto, try this vegan hazelnut pesto tortellini.

A vertical image of a plate of tortellini topped with pesto set on a light green fabric, with a green glass of water and a small bowl of brussels sprouts in the background.Photo by Raquel Smith.

Heather Buckner

Heather Buckner hails from amongst the glistening lakes of Minnesota, and now lives with her family on a beautiful homestead in the Vermont Mountains. She holds a bachelor of science degree in environmental science from Tufts University, and has traveled and worked in many roles in conservation and environmental advocacy, including creating and managing programs based around resource conservation, organic gardening, food security, and building leadership skills. Heather is a certified permaculture designer and student herbalist. She is also a fanatical gardener, and enjoys spending as much time covered in dirt as possible!

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