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Hazel nut variance

Discussion in 'Flora & Fauna' started by slowworm, Sep 26, 2019.

  1. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    Does anyone know much about hazelnuts, Corylus avellana? I've been collecting plenty of nuts this year for eating and decided to keep the largest to grow on and plant up an area around our home.

    I'm curious about the huge variability of the trees I have, many produce small nuts but I've found some trees that produce much bigger nuts every year. I wonder if these are just common hazel nuts or if they are likely to be crossed with filberts or something?

    I also wonder if by saving the largest nuts if there's are likely to grow into plants that are more likely to produce large nuts? I will find out in a few years time.
     
  2. Nomad64

    Nomad64 Full Member

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    Can’t add anything other than that there does seem to be a lot of hazel nuts (and beech nuts) still on the trees this year! :)

    Assuming that the local grey squirrels have not developed a nut allergy, I’m wondering whether this is the result of successful local culling efforts, a bumper crop or combination of the two?
     
  3. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    It does seem to be a good year for nuts but in my woodland I doubt I would have much of a harvest if I hadn't controlled the greys. (Loads of bark stripping this year).

    This year I've managed to harvest the nuts simply by shaking the trees. I've also had a harvest from the apple trees in the woodland which the squirrels have damaged most of the fruit in previous years.
     
  4. bobnewboy

    bobnewboy Settler

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    It seems to be a bumper year for all kinds of fruit and mast around here. Perhaps the squirrels etc are very well provided for and so are taking the easy / low energy expenditure choice? Perhaps it will be a very hard winter this year....
     
  5. Sundowner

    Sundowner Full Member

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    No hazelnuts left here in the Tyne valley. As always those pesky greys got there before me like every year!!
     
  6. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    I've never had so many nuts as this year. Despite competing with two squirrels for the bounty.
    I had one funny moment when I swore they were chucking nuts at me as I gathered them. I could hear them scolding me from the tree tops.
    I have a washing up bowl almost full from one tree alone. Normaly I get a casserole dish full as a maximum.
    Yes definitely a great year for hazels.
    I'm eyeing up a chestnut tree I've found too. Not ready quite yet but it's pretty laden. Can't wait for that!
    There is an old adage that a good nut year for tells a bad winter. Looking back through my foraging diary, every time my favorite hazel tree provides a lot of nuts we have had a very cold and nasty winter. I'm stocking up on candles etc. Had our first power outage of the season yesterday. Early this year.
     
  7. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Don't confuse quantity with quality.
    Some fruits that develop bigger do not necessarily have the carb/lipid/protein values to go with size.
    Very hard to breed all these attributes at the same time.

    Apples aren't much good it the young fruit tend to blow off the tree in the wind.
    Bigger wheat heads are no prize if there's no stem strength to go with it.
     
  8. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    I'm not overly interested in breeding a perfect crop, just bigger nuts that are more likely to be eaten by me as they're easier to harvest and much easier to shell than small nuts.
     
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  9. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    Dad made a "nut grader" that passed all the little ones to be tossed out for the birds.
    Just harvest everything was his plan. Shake/pick the trees over a tarp = done.

    Based on "orchard run," it's impossible here to buy an ungraded (size) nut crop of anything.
     
  10. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    Hazelnuts and Filberts are the same nut I believe?
    The commercial strains are larger, so maybe the large nut producing bushes stem from a commercially grown nut originally?

    I loved picking nuts in U.K, love the sweet taste of fresh ones.
    Some were small, some larger. some oblong, some round.

    Commercial ones are somewhat lacking in taste compared to the 3ild grown ones.
     
  11. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    People often use the word filbert to mean hazlenut but filberts are Corylus maxima so the same. They do cross though and looking at the long husk on filberts I wonder if there is at least some maxima genes in my hazlenuts.

    The problem with collecting them from the ground is there's loads of empty nuts on the ground. They fall first, or a dropped unopened by critters that eat the nuts. So, when you shake a tree it's much easier to collect the large nuts.
     
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  12. fielder1963

    fielder1963 Full Member

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    It's a very good year for hazelnuts here in Shropshire too. It will be interesting to see what sort of winter we have.
     
  13. Woody girl

    Woody girl Full Member

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    Nuts!.... whole hazel nuts!
    20190927_155747.jpg Let's get cracking!
     
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  14. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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  15. fielder1963

    fielder1963 Full Member

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    How do people on here crack large quantities? I use a Drosselmeyer, it's great, but would take ages to do as many as Woody Girl has.
     
  16. slowworm

    slowworm Settler

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    If they're large enough I use a hammer and hard surface. It means I can hold them and crack them easily without bashing my fingers. Large nuts also mean far less need to be cracked for a meal.

    As has been mentioned in other threads I also can get a tingly sensation from fresh hazelnuts so we roast them in a saucepan for about 5 minutes before eating. They go well in homemade pesto for homemade pasta.
     
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  17. Robson Valley

    Robson Valley Full Member

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    I use 2 parallel wooden sticks, like short, fat chopsticks, as nut holders. The hammer can't crush them flat.
    If I had the chance to buy orchard run of all sizes, I suppose some sort of size-grading system would be useful.
    The local wild species, Corylus cornuta, is very prickly to harvest and thresh.
    The bushes are few and far apart but that could be fixed if they were a valuable resource.
    Very large pea sized in the shells and quite uniform in size range.

    Me too = I like the taste after roasting. Milder in my guts, too.
    By supper time, a kg of shelled & cleaned nuts form the Bulk Store is cost effective.
     
  18. Janne

    Janne M.A.B (Mad About Bushcraft)

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    The best form of Hazelnuts is Nutella.
    Modern day Manna.
    :)
     
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  19. SimonL

    SimonL Full Member

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    I'm no nut expert, but this year, I have seen some of the largest hazelnuts I can recall (in several locations in the South of England) along with Blackberries (much later than I recall them from previously.)
    The other thing I have noticed is that the Hazelnuts seem to be hanging on the trees much later - so I can only guess whatever normally eats them is either:
    A - not so prevalent as it was
    B - choosing not to eat them
    C - using Deliveroo for alternative meals
    (sorry about the last one)
    I wonder whether the fact that the Hazelnuts are not getting eaten is why they are bigger this year ?
    Cheers
    Simon
     
  20. Zingmo

    Zingmo Eardstapa

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    I have a red leafed hazel in the garden. The nuts are quite large and have sweet pink-tinged flesh.
    I also have fat squirrels...


    Z
     

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