The hazelnut shrub, also called common hazel, belongs to the birch family. The hazelnuts grow as fruits on the hazel and in contrast to the walnuts or almonds are among the "real nuts".
Mainly they are imported from Turkey. However, the shrubs are also cultivated in other European countries as well as in Asia or the USA. In Germany, many hazelnut shrubs can also be found in local gardens. However, as the hazel in this country does not bear enough fruit, it is not used for trade.
There are two different varieties of hazelnuts: the cell nuts and the lamb nuts. While the cell nuts often grow in Germany, the lamb's nuts mostly come from the more southern countries. Due to the optimal climatic conditions this variety is sweeter and tastier. Overall, the taste of hazelnut can be described as hearty and spicy. The shrub of hazelnut is reminiscent of the shape of a tree. He has a trunk and can grow up to six meters high.
The hazel already blooms in February to March, mostly on the edge of dense forests or clearings. Although the harvest season is only in September and October, the nuts are available throughout the year due to the optimized production and storage conditions. But especially in autumn and winter have hazelnuts in this country season and can be found in almost every supermarket.
Some time ago, hazelnuts were considered hazardous to health because of their fats and the resulting calories. However, although they contain a great deal of fats and oils, scientists have now found that they are even extremely healthy and important for the general diet.
The fats containing hazelnut are predominantly unsaturated fatty acids. They represent the good fats that can have a positive effect on the cholesterol level and strengthen the heart. However, it is important that you enjoy nuts in moderation. Up to 25g may be consumed per day. The magnesium contained in the hazelnuts can relax the nervous system and regulate blood pressure. Inflammation can be additionally prevented by magnesium.
The folic acid it contains helps to reduce the build-up of arteries, protecting the heart and blood vessels. In combination with carbohydrates, nuts can reduce the usual increase in blood sugar and reduce the associated diabetes risk. Nuts are also known as nerve food and trail mix. By chewing the nuts, brain activity is stimulated. The high content of lecithin and choline strengthens the memory and regulates the nerve function.
Certain amino acids contained in hazelnuts, the human body converts into the messenger serotonin, which brightens the mood and helps against depression.
100 grams of hazelnuts contain around 650 kcal. In addition to the relatively high fat content of about 62 g per 100 g, hazelnuts also consist of about 12% protein. Especially for vegetarians and vegans, they are therefore an important and indispensable source of proteins.
In addition, the nut contains many important minerals such as calcium, magnesium, potassium, phosphorus, zinc and iron. Vitamins of the B group, vitamin C, folic acid and beta-carotene are also found in considerable quantities. Hazelnuts also contain a lot of fiber, which is very important for a controlled digestion. The vitamin E contained in the hazelnuts additionally protects the cells against free radicals.
However, hazelnuts, like other nuts, can be very dangerous for allergy sufferers. In particular, people who react positively to birch pollen, in many cases tolerate no hazelnuts. This is because the hazel is a birch plant and contains the same allergenic substances as the birch. This close relationship is also called cross allergy and occurs very frequently.
Intolerance is often manifest in the form of stomach discomfort, diarrhea or nausea. But swelling in the mouth or on the eyes, an itchy throat or mouth may occur after eating hazelnuts. In the worst case, it can lead to anaphylaxis, which can be life threatening under certain circumstances.
Hazelnuts are mostly peeled and unpeeled in the supermarket. As a baking ingredient, they are also available ground or chopped. The nuts should be undamaged in any case and contain no evidence of mold.
Because if the hazelnuts are infested with mold, harmful toxins form, so they must not be consumed in any case. Net-packed and loose nuts are less prone to mold growth. Hazelnuts, which are offered in plastic films, should, however, be avoided, since there forms more liquid, which leads to mold.
Shelled hazelnuts can be subjected to a simple test to determine if the nut is still fresh. If it rattles while shaking in the shell, it is often already dried nuts. In addition, the bigger it is, the more aromatic the nut is. When the nuts are peeled, they have a white skin. Slightly yellowish discolored specimens indicate that it is already a slightly older nut. These taste mostly rancid or have little taste.
Generally, this food will last a few months. However, both peeled and unpeeled hazelnuts should be kept cool and airtight. The fridge, the cellar or less heated rooms are best suited for this purpose. If the nuts are under a plastic wrap, it should be removed in any case.
Whole nuts should be better chopped or chopped as an ingredient for a cake or other pastry beforehand. As a snack in between, the whole nuts are very good.
Hazelnuts can enhance both sweet and savory dishes. Chopped or ground nuts are mostly used as a baking ingredient. Whole hazelnuts can be consumed raw or roasted or candied. Roasting the hazelnuts in the oven for about 10 minutes, they are tastier, have a stronger flavor and the skin is easier to loosen. For this purpose, the nuts are rubbed together after roasting in a cloth until the skin dissolves.
Also liquor or liqueur can be made from this superfood. So that no bitter taste arises, the shell and the skin must be completely removed. In order not to lose the intense aroma, the nuts should be processed immediately after processing.