Corylus cornuta – Beaked Hazelnut

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Beaked Hazelnuts (Corylus cornuta) are native nuts that grow from deciduous shrubs or small trees. Hazelnuts can be found in sunny areas with loamy soil (soil composed of sand, silt, and clay). The trees require a lot of sun and moisture to produce nuts.
Beaked hazelnut trees can be identified by their alternate, slightly heart-shaped leaves with double-toothed edges and brown bark with faint vertical stripes. The nuts grow in a long beak-like husk.
Hazelnuts are best harvested in early-mid September. The nut is the only edible part of the plant. Nuts are ripe when the shell under the husk is tan or brown.
Removing the nut from the husk can be difficult. Nuts in their husk can be placed in the sun and dried out to make removing the nut easier. Nuts can then be cracked with a hammer to remove the nut from the shell. Beaked hazelnuts can be enjoyed raw, roasted, or in hazelnut milk.
There is a second species of hazelnut that grows in CT called the American hazelnut (Corylus americana). American hazelnuts are held in a husk that lacks the long, tubular portion. American hazelnuts are also edible.

Written by Amy Demers, founder of the Connecticut Foraging Club. To learn more about foraging in Connecticut, check out our upcoming classes.

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