Nature's Restaurant:

Fields, Forests & Wetlands Foods of Eastern North America

A Complete Wild Food Guide

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Season: Late Summer & Fall


Urban, Rural or Both: Rural


The Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) and the American Hazelnut (Corylus americana). Similar in flavor to the commercial Hazelnut, often called the Filbert, but even better, though they are smaller. They are shrubs, and can be very large shrubs, most often found on the edges of woods and openings in woods. I find them very nice looking, and exotic looking shrubs when you find one with Hazelnuts in the husks.

Many people find the hairs on the outer husk irritating to the skin, as they can dig in, so you should use gloves when dealing with them. Once the outer husk is removed, you can save them and use them just like the commercially grown Filberts. I have to confess, I end up eating all I have gathered the same day - they are really tasty. They crack with a regular nutcracker, and can also be used in baked goods. If the meat in the nut looks shriveled, don't eat.

Recipe search on the web here (Google search) and here (Bing search).


Growing these shrubs in your home garden:

Very good food producing, nice looking border shrub or a shrub for the center of the yard. Will start to produce nuts in a few years and can be started by planting the nuts right away after being gathered - they should sprout in the spring. Often if you find one of these shrubs, there will be many around, and transplanting a small one is a good way to start. Transplant when dormant after leaves fall in late fall or before buds open in spring. If transplanting a root sucker, best to do it in early spring. You only need one as they are self-pollinating. This is a really nice looking shrub in the fall as well.

For detailed growing instructions, go to my Wild Foods Home Garden website Hazelnuts page.


Beaked Hazelnut Description: (Corylus cornuta):

The Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


The Beaked Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta) range. Distribution map courtesy of the USGS Geosciences and Environmental Change Science Center, originally from "Atlas of United States Trees" by Elbert L. Little, Jr..





American Hazelnut Description: (Corylus americana):

American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) range. Distribution map courtesy of U. S. Department of Agriculture (USDA Natural Resources Service) and used in accordance with their policies.


hazel 02sm

This is an American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) bush with two Hazelnuts on the end of a branch. This picture was taken in Mid September in South-Western Ontario along a trail after coming out of a forest. It is very common to find Hazelnuts on the edges of woods.


hazel leaves 01sm

A close-up of the twigs and leaf stems of the American Hazelnut (Corylus americana).


hazel 01sm

American Hazelnut (Corylus americana) just after being taken out of the husk to the right of my fingers.


hazel 05

Ripe American Hazelnuts (Corylus americana). The color of the husk tells you when ripe. Husk would be green if not ripe.





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Important Notes when Identifying
Rules & Cautions
Dangerous Plants to Avoid Touching
Disclaimer


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