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Hazelnuts – virtually unsurpassable versatility

This popular nut is great for snacking in between meals, forms part of nut mixtures and enhances sweet and savoury dishes. It is also frequently found in its processed form, for example in baked goods or in nougat and praline. These high-energy nuts are rich in vitamins and minerals.

Hazelnuts come in various shapes and qualities. They are divided into three groups according to their shape: round, pointed and almond-shaped. The round, medium-sized hazelnuts are the ones we see the most. They are easy to crack and very good quality. They are therefore usually offered as whole kernels.

From a botanical perspective

It is a “true” nut in the botanical sense. This means that the pericarp is totally woody and encloses an edible seed. The hazelnuts we see on offer mainly come from the common hazel species Corylus avellana – also known as “cobnuts” – or the Corylus maxima, the so-called “filbert”. The common hazel is also widespread here and is one of the oldest native fruit species.

 

High energy due to high fat content

Nuts are a high-energy food. After all, 100 grams of hazelnuts contain 644 kilocalories which is equivalent to the calorie content of seven bananas or ten apples. This is mainly thanks to the high total fat content of 62 grams. However, this is primarily unsaturated fatty acids and they have a positive effect on fat metabolism. Because of the high fibre and protein content they fill you up fast though, so you are not likely to put on weight if you eat moderate amounts.

 

Important source of Vitamin E

Hazelnuts are a good source of vitamin E, which the human body cannot produce for itself. It is thought that Vitamin E protects from cardio vascular diseases, slows down the ageing process in the body, has an anti-inflammatory effect and accelerates the healing of wounds. Moreover, hazelnuts contain various vitamins from the B group – such as folic acid – as well as minerals and trace elements, in particular calcium, potassium, magnesium, copper and zinc. Important phytochemicals such as carotenoids and flavonoids are also present, both of which have a protective effect on cells.

 

Delicious snack with allergy potential

Hazelnuts make an ideal snack in between meals – plain, salted or roasted - and can easily be added to your diet. They enhance any fruit and nut muesli and make a great addition to fruit salads, desserts or baked goods – as whole kernels, chopped or ground.

 

Caution: hazel bushes are part of the birch family. Allergy sufferers who react to birch pollen may develop a cross-reaction to hazelnuts. Therefore, caution is advised, especially since processed hazelnuts can be found in many products. Always look at the list of ingredients.

 

Source: Heike Stommel, www.bzfe.de