Today I got overly excited about beaked hazelnuts and tried to pry a freshly picked one open with my fingers... if you have ever handled beaked hazelnuts you'll know how dumb a move that was. After a few minutes rinsing my fingers and pulling tiny slivers out from under my nails, I thought, wasn't there someone on Permies who was talking about processing beaked hazelnuts? I tried searching the forums and didn't find anything specifically about processing the nuts. I remember someone saying you had to pick them early, not sure why (maybe so the squirrels don't get them first?), and I've seen somewhere else that you have to dry them, and I've seen on youtube someone using a leather glove and pliers and an axe to shell them, but I'd like some definitive step-by-step instructions, "processing beaked hazelnuts for dummies" level information. I'd like to hear from people who have done this themselves, in large quantities, as we have a lot of wild beaked hazelnut that we plan to take advantage of in the future, and I'm completely green. Thank you in advance for any help!
I may have water soak rotted mine for a time then rubbed the skins off. Then there was a sink float in water to determine which to keep and which to toss. Toss the floaters. I ended up with all good tiny nuts. Which I find weirdly Leatherman's Skeletool pliers work awesome for controlled cracking open. Likely any appropriately sized pliers would work.
I've also looked at planting a larger nut that will grow in my Zone 3 area: Hazelberts. You can find them at: HardyFruitTrees.ca. I've planted 10 this year and they are doing well so far. We'll see how they do over the winter.
As a kid on holiday in Wales I noticed the fields were bordered with compact hazelnut hedges so dense the sheep couldn't get thru them. Anyway I still remember the sensation of cracking the nuts with my teeth.