- This past week I harvested the first crop of nuts from trees/bushes that I planted back in October, 2012. The four hazelnut bushes are about five feet tall as you can see in the following picture
- These American hazelnut bushes were more of an after-thought than with any hope of harvesting a crop. Although the bushes are surronded with rings of four foot tall welded wire fencing, there are so many field mice and rats that I am amazed that they did not harvest them before I discovered the bracts that enclose the individual nuts. It will be many years before the pecan trees start producing, but, the chestnut trees put on burrs this year which may have nuts or may be blanks with unfilled nut meats.
The following picture shows the bracts of hazelnuts with each enclosing from one to seven nuts with each nut encased in a husk.
- Here are the hazel nuts removed from the bracts and husks before cracking the shell to get at the nutmeats.
- And, this picture shows three cracked nuts with shells and nutmeats in the top half of the picture.
- The raw nutmeats taste slightly bitter – just as I remember the ones that grew on our Illinois farm. The thin skin covering the nutmeat gives the bitter taste. After the nutmeat is roasted, the skin dries up and is easily removed.