Hazelnuts, big or small, we love it!
It is eaten in all forms: raw, cooked, sweet, salty, as a spread, in oil, or mixed with other equally delicious dishes. Yum !
The hazelnut, origin and virtues
The hazelnut, also called filbert, is the fruit of the common hazel tree: Corylus avellana.
Hazelnut derives by suffixing from walnut and by the dimunitive suffix -ette; the term nut itself comes from the Latin nux meaning "any fruit with shell and almond", "nut".
The term hazelnut first appeared around 1225-1230 in the Roman de la Rose.
It is very rich in lipids, which makes it a very energetic fruit. It is therefore highly recommended for athletes, because of its richness in mineral salts and trace elements, to be ideally combined with almonds, walnuts and raisins.
The hazelnut is very interesting from a nutritional point of view for its protein and dietary fiber contribution, its high potassium / sodium level as well as its richness in vitamin E and antioxidant polyphenols.
It is also one of the oil seeds richest in omega-9 oleic acid, a powerful antioxidant recommended in the fight against type 2 diabetes and cholesterol (consume without excess, however).
Hazelnuts are very rich in vitamin E (effective against cellular aging), fiber (against colon cancer), copper (against rheumatism and infectious diseases), iron (against anemia), magnesium ( against stress), phosphorus (against intellectual fatigue) and vitamin B.
Hazelnuts, a treasure of fruit
France is a net importer of hazelnuts, according to French customs. In 2014, the average import price per tonne was € 6,100.
However, Turkey is the world's largest producer and exporter of hazelnuts.
Other countries are producers and exporters to the global consumer market such as Italy, the United States (State of Oregon) or Spain.
Hazelnut of protected origin
The products recognized by a protected designation of origin (PDO) and a protected geographical indication (PGI) are:
- Nocciola romana PDO (Italy);
- Nocciola del Piemonte / Nocciola Piemonte IGP (Italy);
- Nocciola di Giffoni IGP (Italy);
- Avellana de Reus AOP (Spain);
- Nuciola di Cervioni IGP (France, Corsica).
In Corsica, the hazelnut trees take part in the restoration of the landscape and in the fight against fires.
Hazelnuts and organic farming in France
Hazelnuts are attacked by the hazelnut balanin, a small beetle that infects the fruit before it ripens, and whose larvae develop inside the almond, causing significant losses.
Alphonse du Breuil in his course in arboriculture, (1868, Volume II, page 678) indicates that "one can destroy this insect by picking up in August all the wormy hazelnuts fallen to the ground and by burning them with the larva that it still contains. "
However, this makes organic cultivation quite difficult in France and French organic hazelnuts are quite rare. But, there are French producers who offer excellent organic hazelnuts 100% made in France!
Gourmet recipes made with hazelnuts
In Provence, it is one of the 13 desserts of the great Christmas supper.
The Creusois cake, a Limousin specialty, is a renowned hazelnut pastry.
The hazelnuts are opened using a nutcracker.
The breaking yield, i.e. the kernel / shell weight ratio is approximately 44%.
In the 4th century, in De re coquinaria d´Apicius, several recipes for cold sauces were proposed, which included hazelnuts.
Ferrero chocolate hazelnut rocks
For 15-20 rocks
- 15 soft dates, pitted (130 g to 150 g)
- 70 g of 100% dark chocolate
- If necessary, a little water to rehydrate the dates
For the interior:
For the coating:
- 50 g of hazelnuts
- 80 g of 100% dark chocolate
1. Mix the dates until you have a puree. If the dates are too dry, add a few tablespoons of milk to relax the preparation.
2. Melt the chocolate and add it to the date puree.
3. Heat 20 hazelnuts for 10 minutes in the oven at 180 ° C or fry them lightly to roast them.
4. Shape the date / chocolate dough into walnut-sized balls. Flatten them slightly to insert a roasted hazelnut. Close well so as not to see the hazelnut.
5. For the coating, crush the hazelnuts and melt the chocolate in a double boiler. Two solutions to finish: dip the balls in the chocolate then in the hazelnuts or coat the balls in hazelnuts then dip them in the chocolate. The first version is simpler and prettier for my taste.
You'll tell me what you think about it !
The hazelnut, works and legends
Hazelnuts have not only marked our food but also history, our imagination and our art.
In the Republican calendar, the Hazelnut was the name given to the 22nd day of the month of Fructidor.
It is used to name colors and even inspires us works like the famous tale The Nutcracker and the Mouse King by Ernst Theodor Amadeus Hoffmann, which in turn inspired the famous ballet-fairy The Nutcracker by Pyotr Ilich Tchaikovsky.
Hazelnuts are not just a healthy food we love. It is also an element of our culture, of our art and in a way of our daily life.