Hazelnuts are one of the most popular and tasty nuts. They are very rich in nutrients which make them a perfect snack together with other types of nuts. Hazelnuts have a beneficial effect on our cardiovascular system, because of the presence of monounsaturated fats like Omega 3 and Omega 6 fatty acids that lower your bad cholesterol (LDL) and elevate the levels of the good cholesterol (HDL), which makes hazelnuts an excellent food for the prevention of diseases like heart attacks, diabetes and strokes. Hazelnuts, along with almonds, walnuts and pine nuts are very rich in Vitamin E and C, which are powerful antioxidants that clean your bloodstream from toxins and have various beneficial effects on our body, from reducing the signs of aging, improving your immune system, preventing tumors and much more. Not only that, among the vitamins contained in hazelnuts there are also vitamin K and group B vitamins. Vitamin K improves insulin sensitivity, helps prevent osteoporosis and helps prevent hardening of the arteries. The minerals present are calcium, potassium, copper, iron, magnesium and zinc.
Hazelnuts are very popular as a snack but are also used for the preparation of sauces, creams and desserts. If you want to peel hazelnuts, use this practical tip: toast hazelnuts in the oven on 180 C° for about 10 minutes, be careful not to over toast them, put the hot nuts on a clean dishtowel and then rub them vigorously against themselves. Other useful method is the blanching method, put on some water to a boil, then put hazelnuts (useful for almonds also) for about 3 to 5 minutes, then cool the hazelnuts under the cold water and slip off the skins and toast them in the oven on 180 C° for a minute or two.
Hazelnut oil is a very famous product used primarily in cosmetic industry. Is is obtained by pressing the seeds. It is used for massage and skin care, keeping the skin well hydrated and making it more elastic, all this because of the vitamin E and other important nutrients contained in it.
You should buy them shelled, vacuum packed or in sealed containers as it appears to be the best method to preserve their freshness. Hazelnuts without shell can be held in the refrigerator for a few months, those with the shell can be preserved for a month in a dry and cool place. Hazelnuts can also be stored in the freezer for many months. Fresh hazelnuts deteriorate quickly so you shouldn’t expose them to light, heat and humidity.
See our recipe page for some ideas and delicious healthy Mediterranean recipes that include hazelnuts.