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 When are hazelnuts ready for harvest? 
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Joined: Mon Dec 27, 2004 8:50 am
Posts: 12
Location: seattle
Post When are hazelnuts ready for harvest?
The last couple years birds have beat me to the hazelnuts. I've been told that the nuts are ripe before the husk turns brownish. What are some of the key indicators to look for when evaluating hazelnuts to see if the fruit is ready for harvest? I don't want to invest in bird netting.

Mon Aug 08, 2005 10:07 pm

Joined: Thu Jan 27, 2005 11:27 pm
Posts: 1186
Location: Yamhill County, Oregon

Fun question :D When you speak of "Hazelnuts" I assume you're talking about our native "Wild Hazelnuts." The local "Filbert" industry has adopted the name Hazelnut due to the fact it's the preferred name in Europe for this European-highbred. I still call the tree-crops Filberts; but then I've spent too many hours kneeling in muddy Filbert orchards picking these little things off the ground while attempting to fill a gunny-sack! They don't do it that way any more...

Assuming you are referring to the "wild nuts" - and not their domesticated pals (which aren't ripe until early to mid September), here's what I've noticed around the woods of home: I've just begun to find cracked "Hazelnut" shells on my trails. The Stellar Jay's (J-birds) are the major culprit; you can hear them pounding them open to eat the soft kernel inside. And yes, the kernel is still soft - and it may even be bitter. I'd also bet our native Douglas Squirrel's do a job on them too?

The last time I feasted on wild hazelnuts was while waiting for a school buss - that time of year - not yet. The nuts had firmed up, no longer soft & "milky," and the wild husks left tiny needle-like stickers in our finger tips. I'd simply cracked them open with rocks, and all-in-all the effort seemed worthwhile. But that was about 5 years ago and the wildlife have beaten me to them ever since...

I think it's too early to harvest the nuts "right now." But - as with most fruit - birds will take it long before we do... You may need "netting?" Our Hazelnuts grow wild in large scattered clumps and would be extremely difficult to net. The best I can do is watch for what they've missed, while giving the "Hazel Brush" a couple more weeks before I'd even mess with those prickly little husks that do turn light brown.

If you like their "pre-dried" flavor, I know a couple local orchards where me and the kids - sneak - a few fresh nuts for instant cracking and consumption. And they're much better than the dry, hard nuts you eventually get after the commercial processing... But you should ask a frindly "Filbert" Grower first :wink: - - - I hope there's an answer in here somewhere.

Temperate Orchard Convservancy:

Tue Aug 09, 2005 10:05 am
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