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Hazelnuts – small, tasty and good for you

Autumn is the season for nuts. Hazelnuts are ready to pick any time from early September to mid-October.

Nutty heavyweights

Hazelnuts are small powerhouses. They contain vitamin E, various B vitamins, minerals such as calcium and magnesium, fibre and phytochemicals. They can enrich your diet as part of a varied diet. But hazelnuts should be eaten in moderation, because they come in at 644 calories per 100 grams. This is due to the high fat content, even if the fat is in the form of healthy unsaturated fatty acids. Eat the nuts alone as a snack or in a nut mix. They are also delicious in a fruit salad or in muesli. You can also use them to make pesto and in many baking, for example, in Christmas gingerbread and fruit breads. You’ll also find hazelnuts in chocolate and in nougat and as hazelnut oil.

Tips for harvesting and buying

Go for quality. The "shake test" will tell you about freshness, because old nuts will have dried out and will rattle in their shells. On the other hand, freshly harvested nuts will need to be dried for several weeks. After that, the nuts, hung in nets, can be kept for months in a dry, airy place. Once you’ve cracked the hard shell with a nutcracker, you can remove the skin by putting the nuts in the oven for 10 minutes at 200 degrees Celsius; the skin can then be rubbed off with a tea towel. People in a hurry can buy ready-shelled kernels and chopped and ground hazelnuts for baking.

 

Source: Heike Kreutz, www.bzfe.de