Hazelnuts

By Katrin Koelle
Updated on 28. May. 2020

Hazelnuts might be best known for their place in desserts. However these mighty nuts are great in savory dishes as well and have a surprising number of health benefits.

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Hazelnuts...

  • ...are packed with vitamins.
    Just 50 grams of hazelnuts covers your entire daily requirement of vitamin E, which helps protect your cells against harmful free radicals and also ensures good skin and healthy hair.
  • ...support bone health.
    Hazelnuts contain 225 milligrams of calcium and 330 milligrams of phosphorus per 100 grams, minerals which support healthy bones and teeth. Additional plus: Phosphorus also supports the body in building healthy cells.
  • ...are high in iron.
    100 grams of hazelnuts contain just under 4 milligrams of haematopoietic iron, almost half your daily requirement.
  • ...support brain health.
    With their high content of magnesium (150 milligrams per 100 g), vitamin E (26.6 milligrams) and niacin (1.4 milligrams), hazelnuts are rightly considered a notable brain food.
  • ...help protect the heart and blood vessels.
    Hazelnuts are high in fat, however the majority of their fat content is made up of valuable polyunsaturated fatty acids, which are very good for the body, and especially for the heart and blood vessels. Many studies show that hazelnuts can help lower cholesterol levels and high blood pressure.
  • ...must be chewed well.
    If hazelnuts are not chopped enough, the body cannot optimally utilize their body-healthy ingredients.
  • ...may contain pollutants.
    Unfortunately, random samples of hazelnuts often contain toxic molds (aflatoxins). This is especially true for ground hazelnuts, but whole kernels can also be affected. Therefore, it’s important to store hazelnuts in a cool, dry place and throw musty smelling and tasting hazelnuts away.

What You Should Know About Hazelnuts

Despite their high fat and calorie contents, hazelnuts are extremely healthy, containing mainly unsaturated fatty acids, which have extensive health benefits for the body. 

Origins

The vast majority of the world's hazelnut harvest, approximately 90 percent, comes from two countries: Turkey and Italy. 

Seasonality

Hazelnuts are harvested in September and October, but generally available in the supermarket year round.

Flavor

Hazelnuts have a slightly bitter, intensly nutty taste. They become particularly aromatic when roasted in a pan or oven.

How Healthy Are Hazelnuts?

Hazelnuts are rich in high quality protein that is particularly beneficial to vegetarians and vegans.

Hazelnuts are particularly high in vitamin E, which helps the body cope with harmful substances. A 50 gram serving is enough to cover your entire daily requirement. Vitamin E is rightly considered an effective anti-aging agent, which among other things protects the skin from premature aging. But that's not all: hazelnuts contain almost twice as much calcium as milk, plus considerable portions of minerals including magnesium, iron, copper, zinc, fluorine and selenium.

It is no secret that hazelnuts also contain plenty of fat. As a result, hazelnuts aren't a great option if you're trying to lose weight. 

Digestion also benefits from the high fiber content in hazelnuts: 100 grams contain almost a quarter of your daily requirement.

A large proportion of allergy sufferers cannot tolerate hazelnuts and react to them with swollen eyes and lips or an irritated stomach. In very severe cases, the reaction to hazelnuts can even lead to life-threatening shock. Anyone who is allergic to nuts and especially to hazelnuts must be careful: they can also be hidden in many kinds of prepackaged sweets. When shopping, you should always pay attention to the list of ingredients and the package note "May contain traces of nuts".

HAZELNUT Nutritional INFO (100 g)  
Calories 664
Protein 16.3 g
Fat 63.3 g
Carbohydrates 6 g
Fiber 7.7 g

Shopping and Cooking Tips

Purchasing

If you want your hazelnuts to be harvested and processed under at least halfway fair conditions, look for the red UTZ seal on the packaging. Although UTZ is not synonymous with organic, the organization pays attention to sustainable cultivation and prohibits the use of pesticides. You can also purchase organic as well.

Storage

Like many kinds of nuts, hazelnuts tend to mold easily. Hazelnuts also contain a lot of fat, so that they become rancid relatively easily. Both can be avoided to a large extent by proper storage. Keep hazelnuts well sealed in a dry and cool place. Under these conditions, hazelnuts in the shell can be stored for several months.

Ground or sliced hazelnuts should be consumed immediately or at least within the shortest possible time, as they are particularly susceptible to mold.

Preparation

If you prefer hazelnuts in the shell, you need a good nutcracker, because the shell is quite hard. 

What To Make With Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts taste particularly good in cakes and tarts, or chopped and sprinkled over over fruit salads and desserts like ice cream. They're also great as a topping for muesli, in a smoothie, or paired with certain fall and winter-time vegetables like carrots or pumpkin. 

Those who prefer to smear nut-nougat cream on their bread in the morning can also try a homemade, healthy chocolate-nut cream.

Try roasting hazelnuts from time to time: simply put them in the oven at 180° C for 15-20 minutes or, for small quantities without adding fat, heat them in a pan for a few minutes until they smell fragrant.

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