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