Before the nut cracks
It is time to yield nuts in October and many wonders how to store their nuts the best way.
You can dry hazelnuts, but they taste better fresh.
Photo: Grøn Kommunikation
October is the best time to harvest nuts. Personally, I like fresh nuts better. You can always buy the dried ones. If you can’t eat your entire harvest, you can keep them fresh by burying them in sand outside. You need to take them out again before New Year, otherwise they will start sprouting.
Make sure the mice won’t get them.
You can dry nuts by spreading them in a not too warm place for 2, maybe 3, weeks. Check them by cracking one open now and then, if they dry too much they will shrink. When they have the dryness you like, you should keep them in a cool place. You can also dry them in nylons or a net in the carport but avoid too much frost. The fridge is the best place to store dried nuts. You might be surprised when the nut is cracked, as it might be empty. If the shell is empty it is a sign that the nut weevil has visited. The beetle lays its eggs in the nut while the shell is still soft in July. The hatched larva will then eat the nut. You rarely find the larva as it quickly leaves the shell.
Empty shells can also be due to the yellow Monilinia fungi. In that case the shell will have brown/black spots. The disease often occurs in bushes that are too dense, like the hazelnut sort Corlys Avellana. If the nuts fall early, it is also a sign of the fungi disease. A lack of fruits might be due to frost in the blooming time. Hazel blooms in February/March. As long as the male blossoms are inside the ament and overwintering, they tolerate down to 20 minus degrees. When blooming they might be damaged at just a couple of minus degrees. If the bushes stop bearing fruit, then cut off the oldest branches, as it primarily are new branches that bear fruit.
Om Lars Lund
Danish horticulturist and journalist
Lars Lund has for many years engaged in the garden and greenhouse. Lars has published many books about greenhouses, and he has participated in many Danish horticultural TV shows. He is a walking garden encyclopaedia, and he has answers for most basic cultivation questions – also the more ambitious ones.