Hybrid Hazelnuts to Plant or Eat
Species hybrid hazelnuts—crosses of many generations among American, Beaked, and European hazelnut species—have been bred and extensively examined at Badgersett Research Farm for nearly 20 years. Here you will find information about the development of our Hybrid Hazels, as well as information for how to plant and grow your own hazel bushes or prepare hazelnuts to eat.
Our Hybrid Hazels
Our main hybrid line is a mix of native Wisconsin and Iowa wild hazels with the commercial European varieties. In general, their nuts are 100-300% larger than the wild hazels, with thinner shells, and most have kernels well within the commercial processing size range. They are completely cold hardy here and have the native hazel's resistance to EFB. They have also proven themselves to be highly drought resistant. They can be planted as whole fields, wind breaks, wildlife plantings, and more.
The new hybrid hazelnut crop has been designed from the very outset to address the problems of erosion and chemical use that accompany traditional farming methods. Once established, no plowing or even cultivation is necessary. No water runs off the fields because infiltration rates are dramatically improved, regardless of soil type. Tiling should not be necessary in moderately wet soils. No fertilizer escapes into groundwater, because the crop has extensive permanent root systems at work 365 days a year. No soil is lost to wind or rain; in fact, this crop builds soil. Wildlife finds cover and food all year. In the near future, harvest will be entirely mechanized. Economically, hazelnuts have a large, unsatisfied, existing world market, and processing potential even greater than soybeans.
- About Our Hybrid Hazels: Introduction
- Hybrid Hazelnut Handbook PDF, 2002
Hybrid hazels are good for the environment, but they're also great to eat! Lots of folks just eat them raw, of course, but they do develop a lot of flavor when cooked. Based on our years of experience growing and eating hazelnuts, here are some tips for preparing hazelnuts.