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Hazelnuts: harvest, processing, propagation...?

 
Miles Flansburg
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I am pretty stoked. I think I am finally going to have some hazelnuts! I planted these three years ago and have been waiting to see what they look like. I have never seen them before. So Is this what they look like? How do I know when to harvest them? Can I just crack and eat them or do they have to be roasted or something? Can I plant the nuts and grow more ?

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hazelnut 002.JPG
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Renate Howard
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Yes! You lucky dawg! I grew them at my old place but they weren't pollinating each other so I never got any nuts. I hope you get them before the squirrels do!
 
Craig Dobbelyu
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that's them alright! Congrats. Now watch those nuts. Squirrels and chipmunks have been stripping mine bare every year. Mine are only a few feet tall so there's only a few nuts anyway and i have other things to worry about. Eventually the plant will get big enough for both of us to get some or I'll be eating hazelnut finished squirrel.

Here's a doc I found on nut harvest. Didn't read it just putting up in case it has something of value for you. http://ir.library.oregonstate.edu/xmlui/bitstream/handle/1957/17253/fs146.pdf

 
Miles Flansburg
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Ya we have a few squirrels about so I may have to cover them with some netting. I have two plants and they both have these green nut pods on them.

Thanks for the link Craig. It says,"This publication may be photocopied or reprinted in its entirety for noncommercial purposes." so here is some good info...

Harvesting
Gather hazelnuts after they have
fallen from the tree. You can shake
branches lightly to encourage nuts to
fall. Gather all fallen nuts before the
onset of autumn rains if possible.

Handling after harvest
Hazelnuts should be dried before
eating or storage. Begin the drying
process within 24 hours of harvest.
Nuts usually are dried in the shell, but you
can save a considerable amount of
drying time and use less heat if you shell
the nuts before drying.
Air circulation is at least as important
as temperature during drying, so dry the
nuts on a screen-bottomed tray, in an
onion sack, or in any other container that
will permit free air passage. Optimum
drying temperatures are 95 to 105°F. If
the temperature exceeds 110°F, nut
quality will be poorer.
Small lots can be dried in the warm
air stream above a furnace or radiator as
long as the temperature does not exceed
105°F. Dry hazelnuts about 2 to
3 days. Nuts can be dried at lower
temperatures, but more time is required.
Drying in a conventional oven is
difficult because the lowest temperature
setting is around 200°F and air circulation
over the nuts is limited. Opening the
oven door to lower the temperature is
not energy-efficient. Hazelnut kernels are firm at first and
become spongy during the drying
process. As they approach dryness, they
become firm again. The internal color
gradually changes from white to a
creamy color, starting at the outside.
When the color reaches the center of the
kernel, the nut is dry. Carefully check
both the color and texture to determine
when the nuts are dry enough.

Preparing nuts for consumption
Roast dried
hazelnuts to bring out their flavor. Roast
in a shallow pan in the oven at 275°F for
about 20 to 30 minutes, until the skins
crack. The roasted skins can be removed
easily by rubbing the warm nuts with a
rough cloth. Roasted nuts will not store
as long as unroasted nuts, so consume
them within a few months of roasting.
 
S Carreg
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Watch them carefully, as soon as they start to turn brown, grab them, if you want to be sure to beat the squirrels to them. When they are ripe they are brown and easy to dislodge from their jackets - when they're not ready, you can't get the jackets off in one piece.

I haven't grown them in huge amounts but I forage a few large sacks every fall - I mostly pick up fallen ones as we don't have that many squirrels here, but anyway the after care is the same. Peel off the jackets and lay them out on cardboard or newspaper in a dry place in the house, stirring them every day and keeping a careful eye to make sure they aren't getting moldy, and discard any with little holes (worms). Mine usually take around a month or 6 weeks to cure dry enough, then just store them in sacks someplace with some ventilation and not too damp - mine were hanging in a cotton bag under the stairs. Supposedly they only last 6-12 months this way but I have had some around a lot longer than a year and they still seem fine - they store much better in their shells, so only crack them when you want to eat them - once out of the shell the oils will go rancid fairly fast.

When I want to use them I crack them - I have this amazing machine which I love so much! http://shop.davebilt.com/Davebilt-43-Nutcracker-43.htm - and soak the nutmeat overnight, then either use them like that (for adding to pancake batter, breads, etc) or grind it up and dehydrate it and use it as rough flour, topping for baked dishes, etc.

You can crack them and roast them whole (I do the soaking thing as it's supposed to help make them more digestible), or just crack them and eat them right away, but I think they're better cured.

You can just plant more nuts but if you have a lot of squirrel problems they're not that likely to make it without protection.

Good luck, hazelnuts are awesome
 
Aljaz Plankl
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We got red leaf hazel plants here producing like crazy and i can't stop propagating them.
The one on photo is three years old, started as small side shoot from mother plant.
Beautiful plant!
09-06-2012.jpg
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06-05-2013.jpg
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Stephen Anderson
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Several years I planted a hedge row of 50 hazelnut trees. They grew well and produce buckets of large nuts. The nuts look great but none of them have good meat inside. I understand that if you put them in a bucket of water the bad ones will float. All or mine float! Out of all the trees I planted, there has to be a mixture of both male and female. Can anyone help?
 
John Polk
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A useful site for nut growers in colder climates is Northern Nut Growers Assn.
 
paul wheaton
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Marty Mitchell
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I just watched this video on YouTube about the future of Hazelnut. Apparently they are about 60% oil by weight! They have highly sought after compounds within their oil for cooking, fuel, and lubricant uses. After squeezing the oil out; the nuts make great animal feed. The empty shells have a high temperature burn rate. The husks and shells would make great mulch. They grow in bush form naturally so a source of wood that is also flexible. Wildlife will feed on anything you leave behind. I am thinking this tree will be great in my suburban yard... even has a nice Fall color on the leaves. I want to leave as much sun for my yard as possible. So several short nut trees are the way to go for me.

http://youtu.be/SSEBp2-AJdM
 
paul wheaton
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Ann Torrence
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Miles, did you have to do anything special to get these started in your climate? I tried some this year but they were little starts and I didn't give them the attention they needed. I will try again in the spring. How much growth did you see the first year?

Anyone tried pressing these for oil? Hazelnut oil is a fine end salad oil, really spendy in the gourmet food shops.
 
Miles Flansburg
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I ordered them from one of my many seed catalogs. Can't remember wich one right now. They were just little sticks.

I was going to plant them up in Wyoming but then decided to put them into my veggie garden in Denver.

I have been adding sand, grass clippings and leaves to the clay based garden for years. It is now very dark and full of life. So I am sure that helped.
The garden is watered twice a week. The garden is actually shaded in the morning and evening by aspen trees. Strawberries act as a ground cover around the nuts.

I don't think they grew too much the first year maybe a foot or two, probably just getting their roots down.

They are now over 4 years old and are about 6 ft tall by about 5 feet wide. I had twiced as many nuts this fall as last, and will be planting the largest of them on my land in Wyoming.

I also want to try layering the branches to see if I can grow more plants.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Ann Torrence wrote:Hazelnut oil is a fine end salad oil, really spendy in the gourmet food shops.


I literally envisioned my eyes turning into some $$ signs when I read that. lol

My wife loves to cook/eat salads and we always tend to use the more expensive oils a lot. So I am thinking about the money that would be saved would pay for the trees... any soil amendments... and work. The added nutrition, animal feed, mulch/compost, wood, property value, and quality of life would all be icing on the cake. Heck, I could even start selling Hazelnut seedlings to locals.

Here is a good question for you guys...
How far apart can these trees be planted and still be able to cross-pollinate?

I am thinking Hazelnuts would fit well into a low canopy food forest. I bet you could space them out a little. If the trees have males/females you could just place one or two males up wind from the rest.
 
paul wheaton
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Anybody have a source for hazelnut "seed" (hazelnuts that are still viable)?
 
Marty Mitchell
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paul wheaton wrote:Anybody have a source for hazelnut "seed" (hazelnuts that are still viable)?



I have been having that issue as well. I did find these following websites... and I believe I saw some on E-bay once.

American Hazelnut
http://www.treehelp.com/hazelnut-seeds/
http://www.amazon.com/110-Seeds-American-Hazelnut-Filbert/dp/B00BKC758C/ref=sr_1_3?ie=UTF8&qid=1417296277&sr=8-3&keywords=hazelnut+seed

Turkish Hazelnut seed that reaches up to 82ft high instead of 16ft
http://www.amazon.com/Turkish-Filbert-Hazelnut-Horticultural-MySeeds-Co/dp/B00JLZB14O/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1417296277&sr=8-1&keywords=hazelnut+seed

I did do a quick readup on Hazelnuts and found that they are typically not true to the parents. I know that does not matter when you have acreage like you do.

I am thinking that I may wish to order a few known good varieties that cost more... for use as scion wood. Then plant the nuts for future grafting. Or dig up the side shoots later on.

I do currently have a mad scientist experiment going on in the fridge. I took the store bought(and likely nuked) nuts and put them in the fridge. They are in damp potting soil and sitting at a constant 37deg F.
 
leila hamaya
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paul wheaton wrote:Anybody have a source for hazelnut "seed" (hazelnuts that are still viable)?


i really wanted to go harvest some wild hazelnut here in the mountains, i have found some spots that are filled with epic hazelnuts =)
but the mountains being on fire throughout the fall definitely put a damper on my plans. !

i did take a lot of cuttings, but those arent looking so good, ah maybe next year.

you may know of this place, but heres a place for buying bulk hazelnut seed:

hazelnut seed
 
Isaac Hill
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Hazels are Monocious, there aren't 'male' and 'female' trees, they're wind pollinated so they should be grown close to each other (hazel hedges are great) and my favorite place to buy the plants is oikos tree crops (http://www.oikostreecrops.com/Nuts/Hazelnuts/), this year they had a lot of different varieties that they'd developed. The native ones have smaller nuts, and the european ones are less resistant to diseases, so hybrids of the two are preferable.
 
Marty Mitchell
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Isaac Hill wrote:Hazels are Monocious, there aren't 'male' and 'female' trees, they're wind pollinated so they should be grown close to each other (hazel hedges are great) and my favorite place to buy the plants is oikos tree crops (http://www.oikostreecrops.com/Nuts/Hazelnuts/), this year they had a lot of different varieties that they'd developed. The native ones have smaller nuts, and the european ones are less resistant to diseases, so hybrids of the two are preferable.



Awesome website link! Thank you for sharing.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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paul wheaton wrote:Anybody have a source for hazelnut "seed" (hazelnuts that are still viable)?


Badgersett is selling seeds but they are a bit pricy (http://www.badgersett.com/plants/orderhazels.html)

Grimo (http://www.grimonut.com/contact.php) in Canada is also selling seeds. I paid $15 per pound and there was over a 100 seeds per pound.
 
Adrien Lapointe
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Lawyer nursery in Montana also has European hazel seeds (http://www.lawyernursery.com/contactus.asp#), not sure what the price is.
 
M Stephens
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I’m not a Hazelnut expert, but I own about 35 acres of hazelnut trees in the Pacific NW that I lease out to a professional farmer. First, I would like to mention to Mr. Anderson that good Hazelnuts do float in water. I occasionally glean the orchard after harvest and I float all of the nuts in water to separate out rocks and dirt.

Unfortunately, the farming methods used out here in the NW have almost no resemblance to the environmentally friendly methods described in the video above. All of the orchards in our area are trained to grow like trees rather than bushes. The trees tend to form a relatively tight canopy perhaps 20 – 30 feet tall. Spacing of the trees ranges between 10 to 20 feet. The nuts are harvested by sweeping them off of the ground, which requires very flat, bare dirt below the trees. In order to maintain bare dirt, we regularly spray broadspectrum herbicides (roundup), we flail-mow, and we drag the orchard with box-spreaders to level the ground. Obviously, the bare-dirt method promotes wind & soil erosion. The trees are susceptible to Eastern Filbert blight and moths, so we aggressively prune and spray generous amounts of pesticides.
 
John Saltveit
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If you have a big garden with reasonably good soil in the PNW, you will probably get hazelnuts for free. I have at both houses. Squirrels plant them. Then they take all the nuts when they grow up. You have to get them early, use a slingshot or an aggressive cat to get any. They are native here.
John S
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S Haze
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Here's a video I took last summer of a blueberry harvester being used for hazels. The plantings at this farm aren't doing as well as at Badgersett but you get the idea.

As far as seed goes, and I heard this directly from Phillip Rutter, the smelly compounds in hazelnuts have been measured in a scientific way using professional smeller people (he explained this in a way that doesn't sound ridiculous) and are many times more smelly, after multiple dilutions, than other things we tend to think of having a strong odor. Therefore he theorized that they must interact with a very deep, primal part of the mammal brain. I think I'm missing an important part to this little story but the point is that little critters really, REALLY, want to eat these seeds and are very good at finding them. The only effective way that Badgersett has found for propagating from seed is in a (dreaded) greenhouse. And they don't like to sell seed because they think most people will waste it (eaten by critters) and there's not enough good of the good stuff to waste.

 
Miles Flansburg
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That is interesting S. I have eaten storebought hazelnuts my whole life. They are my favorite. But this year, when I brought the garden grown , fresh nuts, into the house there was this wonderful smell about them that I had never experienced before. Something that was familiar but that I couldn't quite identify. So that must have been it.

A book on Hazelnuts.

http://www.chelseagreen.com/bookstore/item/growing_hybrid_hazelnuts
 
Arzeena Hamir
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M Stephens wrote:

Unfortunately, the farming methods used out here in the NW have almost no resemblance to the environmentally friendly methods described in the video above. All of the orchards in our area are trained to grow like trees rather than bushes. The trees tend to form a relatively tight canopy perhaps 20 – 30 feet tall. Spacing of the trees ranges between 10 to 20 feet. The nuts are harvested by sweeping them off of the ground, which requires very flat, bare dirt below the trees. In order to maintain bare dirt, we regularly spray broadspectrum herbicides (roundup), we flail-mow, and we drag the orchard with box-spreaders to level the ground. Obviously, the bare-dirt method promotes wind & soil erosion. The trees are susceptible to Eastern Filbert blight and moths, so we aggressively prune and spray generous amounts of pesticides.


I'm also in the PNW, albeit quite north, in mid Vancouver Island. We too have just gotten Eastern Filbert Blight here and all of our older orchards are slowly on the decline. I just spoke to someone from Eastern Canada who suggested growing the hazelnuts as a shrub (instead of single stem), and then mowing them down to the ground every few years to get rid of any blighted plant materials. Has anyone ever tried this method?

Curious to see if the production of nuts can still be maintained.

Thanks!!
 
Mary Saunders
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Many challenges to deal with, but a possibility exists to harvest both truffles (expensive) and nuts. http://www.truffletree.com/faq/
 
John Saltveit
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Sounds like it could work in a permaculture system if not in a large commercial monocrop situation. I'm in the Oregon Mycological Society, and one time they talked about gathering of truffles, including under filberts, or as we're supposed to call them now, hazelnuts. They said it's important to use trained dogs to make sure the truffles have matured into something fragrant and beautiful, rather than harvesting the ones that aren't ripe yet (and will never get ripe or fragrant).
John S
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Mary Saunders
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There may be a trade-off in harvest of nuts versus harvest of truffles, as growing the truffles requires minimal fertilization but pretty high ph, which would usually mean a lot of amendment going in, in the PNW, as our soils are so often acidic.

As for harvesting, one of my mushroom-obsessive friends insists you must use trained humans, as dogs don't really care about truffles and may find them before or after they are ripe. Pigs, used in parts of France and Italy, like truffles so much, at the just-right stage, that you have to verge on animal cruelty to keep them from eating them. As you would intend to sell them to humans, it seems best to train humans to tell the just-right stage for humans. The attractiveness of truffles, and what makes them so expensive on the world market, is that they appear to have testosterone or precursors to the same. Black perigord truffles, the starter of which has to steep on the filbert roots before they go in, are indeed a laborious crop, but the price per unit is so high that if you have the right conditions, it might work out for you.
 
John Saltveit
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That's excellent info, Mary. Maybe someday............
John S
PDX OR
 
Michael Longfield
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Did some body say Mark Shepard?



 
Miles Flansburg
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This is a bowl of my second year harvest from two shrubs.
hazelnuts 001.JPG
[Thumbnail for hazelnuts 001.JPG]
 
Joseph Walker
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just to mention, Hazelnuts are splendid bushes to plant if one was interested in growing truffles. One year old plants can be bought whose root systems have been inoculated and it really works well .
 
gina kansas
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Paul - Badgersett Farms - badgersett.com They have seed for planting as well as plants
 
Katrina Jones
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Here is a trick I read about enlisting help from the squirrels for harvesting. Place a few 5-gallon buckets filled with sawdust around the hazelnut shrubs/trees. The squirrels know which ones are good and harvest them. They will (hopefully) be inclined to bury them in the buckets of sawdust. You can then collect them for yourself, but be nice and leave some ears of non-GMO corn for them in the sawdust. I will be planting my hazelnuts next spring and will try this method. Let me know if it works for any of you.
 
Miles Flansburg
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paul wheaton
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brad roon
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i'm looking forward to trying to grow hazelnuts. They were wild in N Minn (ELY) They are native in riparian areas in Cal - grow to 30 ft. In my area it gets very hot, but i may have a place i can grow them.

Our walnuts on the other hand, were always dried. Last year i just brought them into the house and did NOT dry them at the fireplace - intending to keep the heat below 106 degrees fahrenheit (that word is almost as silly to spell as albuquerque!) so that it doesn't kill enzymes.

They dried fine, but not at high heat. There is allegedly some bug issue, but that seems to be only at harvest time. Maybe there are more, but i've not found a bad nut that was not bad at the time of harvest and just missed. You can tell.
 
Joshua Myrvaagnes
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Searched but didn't find--any permaculture-perspective differences on how to transplant hazelnuts? I got plugs from Arbor Day Foundation, their instructions are to dig a hole only 6" deep and 1' wide and backfill that, plus put the soil ABOVE the root flare (or whatever is exposed on the plug the sent me) to prevent the plug from wicking water (away from what??). This goes against what I was told by a permie at a food forest, to avoid soil on the root flare at all cost and to dig a much deeper hole.

ALso, i don't understand the logic of waiting til the hard frost and then shipping out, is that just for shipping purposes or would you say it's fine to plant them now? I mean, I have to, I just need to get an ice pick instead of a trowel. (I exaggerate, we've had only about 24 hours of frost so far).

Which reminds me to check the wather fo r tomorrow. Maybe we'll be back to summer. Again.

Thanks geniuses!
 
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