Hazelnuts are another tree nut that are commonly grown in the Northwest part of the USA and also in Europe.
- Hazelnuts are good for the heart. Consuming just 1.5 ounces of hazelnuts per day may help reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease, according to the USDA.
- Hazelnuts have the highest folate content of any tree nuts. This means hazelnuts are great food for pregnant women or those of childbearing age and may help to reduce the risk of cardiovascular disease and depression.
- Hazelnuts have the highest proanthocyanidin content of any tree nut. These compounds are known for contributing astringent flavor to foods and may help reduce the risk of blood clotting and urinary tract infections.
- Hazelnuts provide dietary fiber. An ounce of raw hazelnuts has 2.7 grams of dietary fiber. Dietary fiber can help lower cholesterol and may prevent constipation because of its laxative effect.
- Hazelnuts are particularly high in two minerals: manganese and copper. One serving of hazelnuts supplies 65 percent of the Daily Recommended Intake (DRI) for copper and more than 90 percent of the DRI for manganese. Copper is needed for iron absorption and manganese is necessary for bone formation.
The more the nuts are processed, the shorter the shelf life they will have. It is best to process (roast, chop, slice, grind) just before use.
You can also roast the kernels, dice and freeze in an airtight container away from foods with strong odors and then you will have nuts available for use. They will keep for over a year in the freezer and you can remove the amount you need.
To roast kernels, spread whole kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 275 degrees F. for 15-20 minutes. To remove skins, wrap the warm hazelnuts in a dish towel and let them sit for 5 to 10 minutes. Rub afterward in a towel to remove some of the skins.
Another option is to boil the nuts in water with baking soda (3 TBSP baking soda to 2 cups water and 1 cup nuts).
After 3 minutes in boiling water put them into ice cold water and then try and remove the skin. If it does not come off easily put back into the boiling water for 1 or 2 minutes more and then try again.
Hazelnuts are perhaps best known to Nutella lovers. If you would like to make your own recipe for a more healthy version of Nutella, Chocolate Covered Katie has a delicious version that is easy to make and better for you.