Hazelnuts are a favorite among food scientists and product development specialists because of their distinct flavor and satisfying crunch. Hazelnuts, with their exotic, European perception and with the increasing consumer trend for upscale, unique products, consumers have shown hazelnuts to be perceived as special and indulgent. Romantic, benign and versatile hazelnuts are a perfect complement to any number of food products and menu items. Hazelnuts are typically produced in large quantities and are of uncompromising quality to meet burgeoning global demand. When compared to other popular nuts, hazelnuts are typically competitively priced.
Hazelnut is also called filbert. It is the edible nut of a hazel, having a hard smooth brown shell. These nuts grow in bunch on the tree in temperate zones around the world. The fuzzy outer husk opens as the nut ripens, revealing a hard, smooth shell.
Hazel nut is cultivated in orchards in Europe, Turkey, Iran and Caucasus. In fact, the name “hazelnut” applies to the nuts of any of the species of the genus Corylus. This hazelnut or cobnut, the kernel of the seed, is edible and used raw or roasted, or ground into a paste. The seed has a thin, dark brown skin which has a bitter flavor and is sometimes removed before cooking.
Etymological Background of the word Filbert
Apparently the word ‘filbert’ has been derived from Middle English which in turn was a derivation of Philbert – the Saint Philibert, whose feast day in late August coincides with the ripening of the nut. Others believe that the term filbert came from the nut’s long husk being referred to as a “full beard” in Old English.
A Brief Historical Background
- Hazelnuts have been a part of the nourishment for 5000 years. Ancient lore has it that hazelnuts held the cure for everything from baldness to tummy aches.
- A manuscript found in China that dates back to 2,838 B.C. mentions hazelnuts as one of the “five sacred nourishments” bequeathed on humans.
- In Roman legend, the god Mercury carried a staff made of a filbert tree.
In the USA, hazelnut butter is being encouraged as a more nutritious option to peanut butter , though it has a higher fat content. In Austria and especially in Vienna hazelnut paste is a prominent component in the world famous torts (such as Viennese hazelnut tort). Vodka-based Hazelnut liqueurs, such as Frangelico, are also increasing in esteem, especially in the U.S. and eastern Europe.
Hazelnut is favored as a coffee flavoring, especially in the form of Hazelnut latte. Hazelnut-flavored coffee seems (to many users) to be slightly sweetened and less acidic, even though the nut is low in natural saccharides. The reason for such perception is not yet understood, but might be due to synergistic interaction with components of coffee.
Nutritional Aspects of Hazelnut
Hazelnuts are rich in protein and unsaturated fat. Moreover, they contain significant amounts of thiamine and vitamin B6, as well as smaller amounts of other B vitamins. Additionally, for those persons who need to restrict carbohydrates, 1/4 L. of hazelnut flour has 20 g of carbohydrates, 12 g fibre, for less than 10 net carbohydrates. Hazelnuts contain the highest concentration of folate, which reduces risk factors for cancer, heart disease, Alzheimer’s, neural tube defects, and depression. Hazelnuts have been deemed the most beneficial nut for heart health, containing a mix of beneficial compounds that protect against coronary disease.
- Hazelnuts are high in oleic acid, a monounsaturated fatty acid that helps to lower cholesterol
- Hazelnuts lower blood pressure because of minerals such as calcium, magnesium, and potassium
- Hazelnuts contain cardioprotective arginine, an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels.
Hazelnut Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes
- 6 medium Tomatoes
- 1/2 teaspoon Salt
- 2/3 cup Hazelnuts, toasted, skin removed,
- 2/3 cup Parmesan cheese, shredded
- 3 tablespoons Basil, fresh, chopped
- 2 teaspoons Garlic, minced
- 2 tablespoons Olive oil
- Preheat oven to 350°F.
- Cut tops off tomatoes. Using a spoon, gently remove seeds. Sprinkle insides of tomatoes with salt and place, cut side down, on paper towel to drain for 30 minutes.
- Mix hazelnuts, parmesan cheese, basil and garlic in medium bowl. Spoon stuffing into tomatoes and pack gently. Place in 8-inch square pan and drizzle with olive oil.
- Bake 30 minutes until tomatoes are soft and tops are browned. Garnish with basil leaves, if desired.
- Nutritional Analysis per Serving: Calories 210 (67% Calories from Fat), 4g Protein,
- 14g Carbohydrate, 3g Fiber, 17g Fat, 3.5g Sat. Fat, 0g Trans Fat, 10mg Cholesterol,
- 380mg Sodium.
Crunchy Hazelnut Salad and Ginger Hazelnut Dressing
- 1 lb romaine lettuce, washed and torn
- 8 ounces spinach leaves, washed and torn (or arugala)
- 8 ounces radicchio, leaves washed and torn
- 1 red bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1 green bell pepper, sliced into thin strips
- 1/2 cup jicama, peeled and diced (or sliced water chestnuts cut in slivers)
- 3/4 cup hazelnut oil (or walnut oil)
- 1/4 cup rice wine vinegar
- 7/8 teaspoon lemon juice (3/4 tsp plus 1/8 tsp)
- 2 teaspoons sugar
- 1 1/4 teaspoons ginger, ground
- 1/2 teaspoon salt
- 1/4 teaspoon pepper
Crunchy Caramelized Hazelnuts
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1 lb hazelnut, shelled, toasted and coarsely chopped
- 1/2 cup corn syrup
- 1/3 cup brown sugar
- 2 tablespoons butter
- 1/4 teaspoon salt
- Preheat the oven to 300*F. Melt butter in 11×17-inch jelly-roll pan, set aside. Place hazelnuts in large bowl, set aside
- Stir corn syrup, brown sugar and salt in small saucepan until blended. Bring to boil over medium high heat, stirring constantly.Boil 3 minutes; don’t stir while boiling. Stir in butter and boil 1 minute Immediately pour over nuts. Stir until coated
- Spread nuts into buttered 11×17-inch jelly roll pan. Bake at 300*F 30 minutes, stirring every 10 to 15 minutes. Remove from oven and cool completely. When cool, break into pieces.
Ginger Hazelnut Dressing:
- Place all ingredients in small bowl. Whisk until thoroughly blended.
- Place salad greens and vegetables into a large bowl. Pour salad dressing over greens, toss until blended. Sprinkle 2 cups of the caramelized hazelnuts over salad. Serve immediately.