Many people are in love with Nutella, but they do not know the secret ingredient that goes into them to make them really special – hazelnuts. Hazelnuts are the nut from the hazel tree that is also known as Filbert.
You can have hazelnuts in so many of your food items and not know about it. It is present in spreads for sandwiches, coffee, and anywhere its flavor, can serve as a compliment. If you are the adventurous kind, and who love to try out hazelnut in its raw form, you need to have an idea of what it tastes like.
What do hazelnuts taste like? The flavor of hazelnut is usually compared to chocolate, but they do not taste alike. It has a nutty and creamy taste, which is accompanied by musty and earthy notes. The taste of hazelnut has been described as buttery at times, and it is one of the reasons why people love it so much. It has papery skin that tastes bitter. So, many people peel the skins before eating the hazelnuts.
Roasted hazelnuts have a more assertive flavor when compared to raw hazelnut. But generally, there is not much difference between the taste of the nuts. It has a smooth texture with a nice crunch that would be great for creating contrasts in whatever you use it with.
Nutritional Benefits of Hazelnuts
The nutritional benefits of the hazelnuts are so much that it should be deemed magical. It contains the highest level of vitamin E that you can find anywhere for that size. Vitamin E plays an important role in the body’s aesthetics.
Nails and hair would benefit from the presence of Vitamin E in the body. It helps to preserve healthy skin and protects against inflammation, fatty liver condition, and cognitive decay.
Hazelnuts also contains vitamin B and minerals like magnesium, calcium, and unsaturated fats. All of these minerals are responsible for the proper functioning of the body and could help to boost communication between cells. They help prevent chronic heart diseases, reduce the progression or formation of cancerous cells, help with muscle health and maintain an optimal bone structure.
It supports healthy bowel movement and helps to greatly reduce cholesterol levels in the body. Dietary guidelines in the United States advise that women that are around the age of 31 to 50 should consume 25.2 grams of dietary fiber every day. Men in that age bracket should consume 30.8 grams of dietary fiber.
Hazelnuts are a good source of dietary fiber, so it is perfect for a healthy digestion process.
Hazelnuts are full of properties that make it valuable to the human body. It can protect the cells in the body against damage from free radicals with the help of antioxidants. Hazelnuts also helps in weight reduction and reduces the risk of obesity or weight gain in the future.
Culinary Uses of Hazelnuts
There are a lot of potential combinations for hazelnuts with other food items. Avocado has notes of hazelnuts and anise, so it can complement the original flavor of hazelnut and makes it more pronounced.
Hazelnuts can be roasted with garlic, the caramelized flavor of the garlic is heightened by the roasted nutty flavor of the hazelnut. This can be accompanied by fried chicken with sauce, and lemon to further magnify the taste and flavor.
Hazelnuts have a creamy texture that can be enjoyed with, or in baked goods. Its crunchy texture can be applied to bakery products like muffins, cookies, brownies, cakes, bread, and biscotti. Hazelnuts can be a healthy and tasty addition to fast foods and can bring contrast to salads. It would also be great as dressings and would be a great addition to sauces.
Hazelnuts can also be used in the production of confections like chocolate truffles. There are also lots of products that use hazelnut paste. It has found its way into French, Turkish, Austrian cuisines.
Where are Hazelnuts Grown? How to Procure It?
Hazelnuts are native to the eastern part of North America. The native hazelnut tree is disease resistant and can survive in varying degrees of climatic conditions.
Research has shown evidence of large-scale nut processing being carried out around 8000 years ago. This evidence was found in a pit on the island of Colonsay in Scotland. Other mesolithic sites for the processing of hazelnuts have been found, with carbon dating tracing those sites back to 6000 BC.
In the present day, as of 2019, the world production of hazelnuts amounts to 1.1 million tonnes. Turkey accounts for the largest production of hazelnut with 69 percent of the world total. Even with all these numbers, there is still a scarcity of hazelnut.
You can purchase hazelnuts at large grocery stores or specialty departmental stores.
Is it Safe to Eat Raw Hazelnuts?
Hazelnuts to be eaten raw, but they are better enjoyed when roasted. The flavor becomes more mellow, and the taste is sweeter when it is roasted. But, like every other nut out there, hazelnut will go bad if left out for too long.
Facts You Don’t Know About Hazelnuts
- Hazelnuts are sometimes referred to as cobnut. Cobnut is a specific variety of hazelnut that is handpicked and eaten while it is still green.
- The food manufacturing company that produces Nutella uses 25 percent of the global supply of hazelnuts. The company came under a BBC investigation where it was found that many of the family-owned orchards that their supply of hazelnuts comes from were using migrant child labor.
- The company has denied the accusations and claim that the complexity of their supply chain cannot let them ascertain if children were involved in the process of harvesting their supply of hazelnuts.