First real hazelnut harvest

A long wait is over. Seven years after we planted the first hazelnut bushes in our garden planted with trees, we were now the first real harvest. As it was previously at best a handful of nuts this year we have been able to rake in more than 2000 nuts.

Although I hazelnuts harvested in the wild many times I felt rather helpless as I stood there in the hazel grove and saw the countless clusters emerge. How do I know really when the nuts are ripe? And how am I going to have time to harvest them before all the animals who also likes nuts?

Cover image Cattle grower's manual
Out now: Nut grower's manual!

When I tried googling me to answer my questions, I received no satisfactory results. "The nuts are ripe when they fall down on the ground," it said on many pages. That may indeed be true, but from my observations of wild hazel stocks I know it is only a fraction of the mature nuts to even end up on the ground. Most of the mature nuts are the squirrels and birds when they are still on the bushes.

Even in the scientific literature, I went for a bite. There is some research on how fat ingredients of hazelnuts changes during ripening, but nobody seems to have bothered to answer my simple question about how I know if the nut is ripe. Here, then, is my own hypothesis about how it all works, which also leads to the answer to the question how we can have time to harvest the nuts before the squirrels.

Hazelnuts growing early summer
There were many thoughts when I saw the hazelnuts grow in their clusters during the early summer.

After ripening nuts or how I have time before the squirrels?

The nut is connected via a membrane to the bush which provides the nut with nutrition during its growth. All nutrients must pass through this membrane located on the underside of the nut. Before the diaphragm starts to drop, it is basically impossible to pull off a nut without pulling off the whole bunch. At some point during the maturation process, nut, however, had all the nutrients it needs. Then I assume that the nut starts to produce some neurotransmitter which makes the membrane slowly impermeable and that the nut starts to come loose from its attachment. All processes required for the nuts ripen occurs within the nut from now. How long this process takes varies from variety to variety and is certainly highly dependent on external factors such as air temperature. After a while the nut is so loose that even a small squirrel can dislodge the. The best time to harvest the nuts for us humans is before then.

Bottom of hazelnut
På hasselnötens undersida syns resterna av membranen genom vilken hasselnötsbusken skickar näringsämnen in i nöten. När nöten har fått alla näringsämnen den behöver blir membranen långsamt ogenomsläpplig och nöten släpper lätt från sitt fäste.

A big advantage we have against squirrels and other wild nut lovers is that we can let the nuts after mature indoors where it's warm and dry. Because I am convinced that the maturation process after a while only continue in the nut, we can harvest the nuts earlier than the wild animals. To test how long the maturation process has come, I take hold of a bunch of nuts and then use your thumb to press any nut sideways. If it releases without much effort is cluster ready for harvest. It will plop when the nut jumps out of its holder. If it does not release the hold bush still pumping nutrients into the groove. Or the nut empty or damaged. Since it is the nut itself as a signal that it is ripe, damaged or empty nuts not initiate lossningssprocessen. Empty and cracked nuts release therefore never from their strongholds, something that is good to know when it's time to take care of the harvest. On the other hand releases filled, healthy nuts Always mount, provided they are mature enough.

With this knowledge, I went then over my shrubs periodically and checked maturity. Not surprisingly, it was on the south side of the bushes, nuts ripen first. There could be a difference of three to four weeks in maturity between sun- and the shadow side of the same bush.

What if I harvest too early?

At the beginning of the harvest, I made the mistake to harvest the entire shrub as soon as the first nuts were finished on one side. I did not want to get rid of all of the great harvest only because I waited a few days too long. To harvest too early means that the important processes that take place inside the nut is not completed. It is entirely possible, and also really good to eat green, immature hazelnuts, but you can not get those nuts that after mature properly then. What happens is that the nuclei shrink very much, something that probably has to do with the change of the fatty acids in nuts. In immature nuts are fatty substances are not stable and the water level is still very high, which simply means that there will not be much left to eat after a few weeks. Therefore I turned rather quickly to reap the rounds.

correct finishing

When the nuts are harvested well requires some processing both to favor the ripening process and to make them shelf stable as possible. For the most part, I harvested the whole bunches. The best thing is to simply spread out all bunches in an airy, ventilated, dry and not too cold place that is also mussäker. Where can they be until the nuts are fully mature and then just shake them out of their shells. Both the housings and the nuts turn brown after a while, which is a good sign that they are mature. Nuts from loosening is to say either damaged or completely empty and it is not worth the time to roll them out brackets.

Harvest from Hall's Giant
Så här mycket nötter blev det från en enda buske av sorten ‘Halle’sche Riesennuss’.

If you are short of space, you can also pick out the nuts from their mountings immediately after harvest. One mistake I made was that I hung the whole bags of nuts in the roof. The nuts in the middle then got enough air and began to rot on the surface, something that can lead to the production of different very unhealthy fungicides (mykotoxiner) the nuts. Therefore it is important that each nut is airy until the water level is so low that it can not rot anymore. This process can take a number of weeks. In ancient times it sounded nuts even be on the wind until Christmas Eve so that they would be really dry [2].

Our crop variety for variety

In total, we have about 20 cultivars of hazelnuts and between hazel (Corylus x colurnoides). In addition, we have planted dozens vildhasslar from different areas in Sweden to ensure that we get good pollination of our great fruity name resorts. This year was the first year a wild hazel which we picked from a nearby stand blossomed. Of the big name resorts fruity it was six varieties that gave real harvest. The table below shows a summary of yield per bush. All shrubs are planted 2013, except the variety 'Cosford' planted 2012.

Cluster of Frühe Lange Zellernuss
Sorten ‘Frühe Lange Zellernussgav många nötter per klase.

The shrub whose nuts ripen very first was wild hazel, more than two weeks before the first cultivar matured and over a month before most other shrubs began to get ready harvest nuts. The nuts, however, was very small in comparison. 'Frühe Lange Zellernuss' frequently recommended in the literature, and it was very quite early (med avlånga nötter). ’Kentish Cob’ (=’Lambert’s Filbert’) matured shortly thereafter, but Bush is still quite small, and the harvest was then. 'Halle'sche giant Sap (= ‘Jättenöt från Halle’) the kind that clearly has taken the best of cultures. I purchased the shrubs as 'Wunder aus Bollweiler', but according to a research article from 2006 [1] är ’Wunder aus Bollweiler’ genetiskt identiskt med ’Halle’sche Riesennuss’, so I use that name to come. Two of these shrubs gave more than 2 kg Combine, which is a really good value when compared with the figures in the literature. The two real 'Cosford'-bushes gave for their size and age, a surprisingly poor harvest, although the quality of the nuts were very good. A pleasant surprise was the variety 'Butler' that is produced in the United States gave the harvest for the first time. 'Butler' was the kind that gave the largest single nut, although the average was slightly lower.

SortSkördedatumVikt med skal, fresh (g)Antal fylldaVikt per nöt (g)Antal tommaAndel tomma (%)Note
Vildhassel20 August4602481.8500Från ett lokalt hasselbestånd
Cosford 18 september120602610Förmodligen felmärkt, ser mer ut som vildhassel till storlek.
Early Long Cell Nut8 september10353652.84298Två buskar
Kentish Cob13 september139672.0700
Halle'sche Riesennuss 118 september27378273.31476Skördade för tidigt
Cosford 218 september8501964.3474
Butler24 september170443.8600
Cosford 330 september200414.8800
Halle'sche Riesennuss 230 september11262983.78103En del nötter fortfarande inte mogna
Halle'sche Riesennuss 330 september22175034.41204En del nötter fortfarande inte mogna
Halle'sche Riesennuss 430 september170553.0959Liten buske
Halle'sche Riesennuss 530 september182434.2337Liten buske, fåglar tog en del av skörden
Webb's Prize Cob0000Fåglar tog hela skörden!

The column "Number of empty" requires some explanation. When I started to reap from the bushes were already a lot of bunches of nuts on the ground. Upon further investigation, I discovered that all the nuts lying on the ground was empty. It seems that the hazel bushes repel whole bunches when they somehow realize that they only contain empty nuts. Probably it is a neurotransmitter that is not sent from the nut to the bush that allows the start of the rejection process. Very handy for me when eliminating time spent on managing empty nuts. The empty nuts remaining in the table, then, such as shared cluster filled with nuts. Overall, I think the percentage of empty nuts are low, especially in comparison with literature values ​​generally above our values [3]. One reason why the harvest was relatively high, it may also be that of hazelnut growers feared pest nötviveln not present with us. More on the bad guys and how we conduct ourselves in relation to it will in the next post.


[1] Boccacci, P., A. akka, and R. Botta, DNA typing and genetic relations among European hazelnut (Corylus avellana L.) cultivars using microsatellite markers. Genome, 49(6): p. 598-611, 2006.
[2] Pettersson, B., I. Svanberg, and H. Tuñón, Nuts: ethnic biological reader. Studentlitteratur, 1999.
[3] Solar, A. and F. Printing, Characterisation of selected hazelnut cultivars: phenology, growing and yielding capacity, market quality and nutraceutical value. Journal of the Science of Food and Agriculture, 91(7): p. 1205-1212, 2011.

24 thoughts on “First real hazelnut harvest”

  • Interesting! Hasselnötter är en riktig delikatess enligt mig, om man äter de gröna och utan att torka. Torkningen gör att fettsyrorna härsknar, delvis, speciellt på sorter som får ett hålrum med luft i mitten av nöten. Sorter, eller vilda nötter, som skrumpnar inn från utsidan istället, blir godare som torkade. Tycker jag iallafall.

    Känner inte till att tomma eller skadade nötter släpper dåligare från höljet, har inte undersökt det medvetet men har trots allt plockat nötter varje höst i många år, både vilda och äkta.

    Jag har mina i kylskåp eller frys, eftersom jag föredrar den färska smaken 🙂

  • I'm totally a novice at this but love all kinds of nuts. For more than 10 years ago I bought 2 hazel in a market garden and they grow so it cracks, but no nuts, so I wonder is there hazel only ä ornament and not give nuts? They stand in the zone 5.
    // Hakan

    • If you bought two pieces of a nursery is a great risk that they are clones and then they can not pollinate each other. It is a little bit more about it in this post: I plant in a wild hazel from a local populations (if there is, otherwise, from a north hazel stocks), it can take care of pollination so you can harvest. After 10 years, it is really time for it. /Philipp

      • Many thanks for your reply Philipp gives me new hope for their own nuts again, I had already lost hope before I saw there posts about hazelnuts. I live in Sandvika outside Falun so I do not have as much to you, you have a few shrubs for sale? Or do you know anyone else in the vicinity? regards Håkan.

        • Hello Hakan,
          we will not have any vildhasslar in our catalog next year probably, but if you want I can email you our catalog then when it is finished. Unfortunately, I know of no selling hardy wild hazel. /Philipp

          • One can assume that all wild hazel which can be bought in Sweden is just as hardy as his refined bushes, so it is enough just to order from any online store.

          • However, I believe that a wild hazel whose catkins have time to mature. Vika is located on the border of Zone V and I do not think the wild hazel say from zone II is the best choice. I would choose one from the nearest natural hazel presence, preferably from a somewhat cooler region.

          • I'm a little skeptical about the fact. Processed varieties are usually between- or southern, but it is of particular importance when flowering occurs (I think, since it varies between varieties). The timing and compatibility are important. A wild shrub is probably compatible with all varieties, but the timing of the wild male flowers are still a gamble. Commercially, it is a science, and there are both early, between, and late pollinator, in addition as to the compatibility. If there are many wild hazel in the vicinity, you are sure, both with timing and compatibility. But if you have a single variety, and must buy a pollinator, then it is the only safe to buy another variety that is both compatible and has the right timing. Then you must also know what variety you have… Men, even if the timing is not optimal with the wild bush you get, then there will probably still be some nuts.

          • Thank you for your commitment, both Phillipp and Magnus. Jag får försöka hitta några olika, det gör ju inget om det blir lite mer nötter 🙂 . Har ställt fråga till Lövhyddans handelsträdgård om dom kan lista ut vilken sort jag köpt av dom. En katalog skulle vara trevligt som inspiration till våren, jag har satt liljor två år nu och något ätbart kanske ska bli nästa fokus.

        • Det finns vild hassel nära dig vid Bispbergs klack (under jätteklacken som du når från Pungmakarbo. Jag har sett hassel vid rasbranten som har en stig upp mot toppen). Där kanske du kan hitta några nötter att plantera.

  • Ett sätt att skilja tomma från fyllda hasselnötter är att lägga dem i vatten. De tomma flyter. Hos mig var ca 20 % tomma. Angripen av någon insekt.

    • Ja eller bara knäcka dom 😁

      Empty nuts is all right, it is worse to those who have small gray spots, difficult to detect but enables the nut tastes pythons. Wondering what kind of disease.

  • Very interesting reading as usual! Have read this for a while now.
    I hold myself to construct type a forest garden in Stockholm outside the house which was bought a few years ago. Is not that skilled yet, so were very pleasantly surprised when I discovered last spring that I have 3 shrubs wild hazel on Property! Have not seen any nuts on them in the past year, annars hade jag nog förstått tidigare vad det var 🙂
    Det är dock mycket träd som skuggar två av dem, men en står fint i solen. It got quite plenty of nuts this year. Thinking that it might have been an unusually good beef year?
    Dock, so unfortunately our squirrel ignored the fact that they were not mature at all, and began gnawing off the clusters as early as the first half of August. Everything was gone after a week or so. Luckily, he was careless, so most of it ended up on the ground. Picked these and let them ripen as best I could. Some became good then, but most had a slightly too immature "green" and bitter taste. Let them lie further, but then they started to mold. They were probably not airy enough, but I also connected it to the fact that I did not remove them from the clusters. De gröna ”omslagen” är ju en hel del fukt i.
    Efter fynden av buskarna så är jag väldigt sugen på att ympa in namnsorter på dem. Vet inte hur bra det funkar? Är ingen van ympare ännu, fast Youtube finns ju 🙂 Om det funkar, you have possibly scions that I could buy for spring, or know where to get it?

    • My uncle has been grafted into varieties of wild hazel several times, He says it is relatively difficult to succeed, compared with, for example apple. But it goes.

        • Thanks to both Magnus and Philipp!
          Ok, then I see that inoculating some other stuff first so I get into the routine a little easier stuff, I'll take the hazel later. Then maybe I had time to read a little more too, men 20 degrees was the interesting info. Guess it still takes scions when they are still at rest, but to get them in the fridge, then until the summer? Since seeding when the hazel is in full swing, or perhaps one should preferably take a warm day in May a year when it turns very quickly so they are still not quite awake yet? I will really love to receive a catalog also, when they are available!

  • We also had a good hasselnötsår in Holland this year. I tend to shake the bushes and pick the one that falls down. Hallsche Riese-nuts fall “free”, without sheath, while Webb Cob lose the whole bunches of shells and nuts. It's a little different between different races.

    A little inspiration might:
    Harm substituents on hazelnut cultivation Joostenhuus has a dog running loose in the garden hazel to chase squirrels. It works for him.
    And for 25 years ago, he got permission to shoot three rooks, of the 250 who flew in every day and munched nuts. After the two were shot that ended the birds to come. Even until today, many, many years later. (Perhaps not politically correct solution, but for the harm it has worked well).
    So he let the nuts fall to the ground and he uses a snow shovel to scoop up several kilos of nuts from each tree (25 years old),

  • I fjol (2019) we had a good harvest from our wild hazel tree. This year there were no nuts at all (however, plenty of blooms), which made me think – the nuts come only every two years, or is it something else that caused this?

    • It is true that hazel has a tendency to give a good harvest every two years. This year, the mild winter also contributed to the flowering much earlier than usual. Then it got really cold in May and probably a lot of the future harvest froze away.

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