Hazelnut Facts

Hazelnut Facts
Hazelnut is deciduous tree that belongs to the birch family. It originates from temperate areas of North America, Europe and Asia. Wild hazelnut grows on well-drained soils, in areas that provide enough moisture. Cultivation of hazelnuts started more than 5.000 years ago, when people discovered nutritional and health benefits of this plant. Hazelnuts are still very popular and one of the most commonly cultivated and consumed type of nuts in the world.
Interesting Hazelnut Facts:
Hazelnut is small tree that usually grows 20 to 40 feet in height.
Hazelnut has green, rounded leaves that are doubly toothed on the edges. Both sides of leaves are covered with fine hairs.
Hazelnut is monoecious plant which means that individual male and female flowers develop on the same tree. Male flowers are yellow catkins. Female flowers are tiny and red colored.
Hazelnut is wind-pollinated plant. Wind carries pollen to the female flowers during the winter. Pollen remains dormant 7 to 8 months (until the May or June), when fruit starts to develop.
Fruit of hazelnut is a nut covered with leafy capsule. Hazelnuts are produced in clusters. Hard outer shell protects oval to spherical, yellowish-brown kernel hidden inside. Each tree produces 20 to 25 pounds of hazelnuts per year.
Harvest of hazelnuts usually takes place from September to October. Mature nuts fall to the ground. They can be collected manually or with a help of specially designed machine called sweeper which works like a vacuum cleaner.
Hazelnuts are rich source of mono-unsaturated fatty acids (type of heart-friendly fatty acids), dietary fibers, vitamins A, E and folic acid (B9) and minerals such as manganese, magnesium, phosphorus and iron.
Hazelnuts can be consumed as snack, or as an ingredient of numerous sweet and salty dishes and industrial candies. Nutella is popular industrial cream made of hazelnuts.
Oil extracted from the hazelnuts is used as vegetable oil for cooking. This oil also has application in cosmetic and pharmaceutical industry and in aromatherapy.
Hazelnuts are used as flavoring agents of coffee and various alcoholic ("frangelico" liqueur) and non-alcoholic drinks.
Hazelnut is also known as filbert. Name probably originates from the St. Philibert day, celebrated on the August 22, when harvest of hazelnuts usually starts. Some researchers claim that name "filbert" refers to the "full beard" or leafy capsule that completely covers long-husked varieties of hazelnuts.
Ancient Greeks used hazelnuts in treatment of cough and baldness.
Ancient Romans used torches made of branches of hazelnut during the wedding ceremonies due to belief that hazelnut ensures long, happy and prospective marriage.
748.000 metric tons of hazelnuts are produced each year. Nearly 75% of globally consumed hazelnuts originate from Turkey.
Hazelnut is perennial plant that is able to bear fruit even after the age of 50 years.

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