hazelnuts (corylus avellana)
the origin of Hazelnuts
Archeology tells us that Hazelnuts (also called "Filberts") have already been domesticated during the stone age by people living in the Mediterranean region and what is now Turkey and Iran. However, Chinese manuscripts have been found, dating back to 2,838 B.C., that name the Hazelnut as one of the five sacred nourishments God bestowed on human beings. The Greeks and the Romans spread the Hazelnut later all over Europe, where it has been eaten throughout the centuries until today.
The famous Roman historian Pliny recorded that Hazelnuts were domesticated by the Romans, but he believed that they had originated from Damascus, where they grew naturally in forests. Today Hazelnuts are found in some European regions and North America, where the climates are mild during winter and cooler during summers, like the Black Sea coast of Turkey and near the Mediterranean shore in Italy and Spain. Turkey is the biggest producer of Hazelnuts worldwide.
In ancient times Hazelnuts were said to have mystical powers and have been used as "divining rods" to locate underground spring heads of water, buried treasures, minerals, ores, and as various remedies for illness and ailments of many kinds. Throughout the Roman Empire it was customary to offer a hazelnut plant as a gift, in the belief that it brings happiness and fertility. In the 14th century, Julian of Norwich wrote a book that describes the Hazelnut as the symbol of the Revelations of Divine Love. Btw., this was the first-ever known English book written by a woman.
Since Hazelnuts are slightly sweet-flavoured, they are often used in baked recipes or to boost up the nutritional value of a salad or other meals. Mixed together with dried fruits Hazelnuts are a perfect snack in between. Eating only 50 gram of Hazelnuts per day may provide your body with the healthy benefits to reduce the risk of heart & brain diseases and symptoms associated with allergies. Hazelnuts are rich on the co-enzyme Q-10, an antioxidant substance produced naturally by the body to protect our cells from free radicals. As we age, our body produces less Q-10, thus Hazelnuts may compensate for the deficit. Hazelnuts have a high amount of vitamin E and vitamin B. In addition they are rich of many important minerals such as potassium, calcium and magnesium. They contain heart-healthy (polyunsaturated) fats, proteins and beneficial dietary fibre.
The fact sheet below gives an overview about the ingredients and nutritional values of raw, non-roasted Hazelnuts.