Hazelnut or Wild Filbert
Hazelnuts grow on bushes 1.8 to 3.6 meters high. One species
in Turkey and another in China are large trees. The nut itself
grows in a very bristly husk that conspicuously contracts above
the nut into a long neck. The different species vary in this
respect as to size and shape.
Habitat and Distribution
Hazelnuts are found over wide areas in the United States,
especially the eastern half of the country and along the Pacific
coast. These nuts are also found in Europe where they are known
as filberts. The hazelnut is common in Asia, especially in eastern
Asia from the Himalayas to China and Japan. The hazelnut usually
grows in the dense thickets along stream banks and open places.
They are not plants of the dense forest.
Hazelnuts ripen in the autumn when you can crack them open
and eat the kernel. The dried nut is extremely delicious. The
nuts high oil content makes it a good survival food. In
the unripe stage, you can crack them open and eat the fresh kernel.
These are common around the Great Lakes. We used to find them
in the sandy hills just up from the beaches of Lake Michigan.
You won't find the ripe nuts until August at the earliest. They
are easy to collect and delicious.