Friday, August 20, 2010

Beaked Hazelnut

Despite the fact that hazelnuts supposedly grow throughout our area, we rarely see them. Perhaps we aren’t looking hard enough. Perhaps we live in an odd microcosm without many. But we do have one lovely beaked hazelnut growing by our shed. We have watched this lovely little shrub all season. It produced exactly 3 nuts.

We took our precious cargo home, peeled the lovely green cover, and cracked them with a rock. One was empty. One was rotten. And one was perfect. And delicious.

My in-laws in Connecticut report an extremely productive single tree near their home. Arena, who spends tons of time in the woods surrounding our area, saw her first hazelnut the other day—the one at our house. Subsequently, she reports finding a stand. Where are the fields of hazelnut bushes we should be finding? What a treasure we will find when we discover them!


  1. we have tentatively identified some american hazelnuts just yesterday... my question would be, how do you know they are ripe enough to pick and eat?

  2. Well, we've only done this once, but our single hazelnut was ripe. We've read that they ripen in late summer and will still be green when ripe. We also read that if they are ripe, the sheath (the green covering) will come off easily. Ours did. Let us know how it turns out! Did you find a lot of them? American hazelnuts are supposedly more productive than beaked.

  3. this is my first year for nuts, but according to this site ( and the sample nuts that i collected when i was trying to make a positive ID, i need to go out and pick them this weekend (before the squirrels do!)
    though more prolific than just a few nuts, i found 3 bushes, each with only maybe a dozen nuts on them. this may be due to the poor spring weather we had this year... the chokecherry harvest (my reason to be out in the area in the first place!) has suffered this year for the same reason. as for visible ripeness, the husks are browning and just beginning to split, and the nut shell is a golden brown color... i hope to go out today on a short jaunt and pick what i can find... we'll let them finish ripening indoors and see how they turn out!

  4. Sooo . . . How did they turn out?

  5. interesting. blogged here:

    and tasty. cracked a few of the ripest nuts just to try them out. we'll see how the rest are in a week or so.

  6. I live in MA, where both american hazelnut and beaked hazelnut are common in the forest understory. Most specimens or rather scrawny, and produce few nuts, probably because sun exposure is poor in the understory. The ones that produce well are those that grow at the forest edge and receive good sun exposure.

    Pick them when the shells just begin to brown. If you wait any longer, squirrels and jays will get them all.

    To my taste buds, flavor is sweeter and milder than that of the Turkish hazelnuts you can buy in the grocery store.

    Happy foraging!

  7. Back home we never get many because the squirrels get them first. For the beaked ones anyway you'd know they were ripe when the spiny out covering started to dry and you could see the brown of the shell showing through the green