Many people believe that when it comes to the taste hazelnuts are the best nuts ever. Is it good for your health to eat as many hazelnuts as you want?
Hazelnuts are nuts of trees and shrubs related to the genus Corylus (which is called ‘hazel’ in English). As this genus has no less than 14 species, hazelnuts can significantly vary in the form and size: sphere shaped hazelnuts are also called ‘cobnuts’ and elongated hazelnuts (twice as long as they are wide) are known as ‘filbert nuts’. In the US hazelnuts are almost exclusively produced in Oregon; on a global scale, Turkey accounts for some two-thirds of the world production of hazelnuts.
The best thing about hazelnuts is that they are nutritious. 100 grams (or 3.5 oz.) of hazelnuts contain 30% of the recommended daily allowance of protein and 40% of the RDA of dietary fiber that is essential for gastrointestinal health. Hazelnuts are also extremely rich in vitamins E and B1, as well as such minerals as manganese and copper. Both cobnuts and filbert nuts contain significant quantities of vitamins C, K, B2, B3, B6, and folate; they are also a good source of iron, magnesium, phosphorus, potassium, and zinc. These nuts are free of cholesterol and supply you with all essential amino acids.
The main drawback to hazelnuts is that they are too fatty and contain too many calories. From 100 grams of hazelnuts you get more than 90% of the RDA of fat and a full third of your daily need of calories. On the bright side, three-fourths of fats in hazelnuts are monounsaturated fats that might be good for your heart, while jogging, weight lifting and other types of physical exercise will help you to burn up calories. Even if eating hazelnuts on a daily basis is something you should avoid, these tasty nuts might help you to live through a hectic day and still have plenty of energy.
The high-fat content of hazelnuts means that you need to refrigerate them to avoid the fat getting rancid. Ready-shelled hazelnuts in airtight packaging usually last longer than hazelnuts in their shells. Store nuts in unopened packets in a cool dry place; if you have opened the packet, keep the nuts you are going to eat later in an airtight container.
Some people prefer roasted hazelnuts to raw ones as they get a sweeter taste not to mention a crunchy texture. Roasting, however, lowers the vitamin content of the nuts: as they say, you cannot have your cake and eat it too. You can roast your hazelnuts in the oven: preheat it to 350ºF and let the nuts roast for about 12 minutes. Lower oven temperature (275ºF) will require longer roasting time (about 15-20 minutes) but might result in a more pronounced nutty flavor. It is also possible to roast hazelnuts in a pan: you will need to watch your hazelnuts carefully and stir them around every minute or even more often. In 5 to 10 minutes hazelnuts will turn brown: immediately remove them from the pan to avoid over-roasting. You may eat your nuts when they cool completely.