Everything You Need to Know About Hazelnuts
When was the last time you had a hazelnut? Was it in some fruit and nut mix, perhaps it was disguised in pastry layers or lightly salted? Whenever it was, did you stop to think about all of the benefits that come with eating hazelnuts? We didn’t think so.
Well, here’s your chance - by the end of this article, you’ll know everything there is to know about hazelnuts, including what they are, where they come from, and how good they are for you. Let’s dive right in.
What Are Hazelnuts?
Hazelnuts are nuts, and while that may seem like an obvious statement, so many of the nuts we class as nuts are actually botanically classified as drupes. Hazelnuts, however, are true tree nuts, specifically the nut of the hazel tree.
Inside their tough exterior shell lies a nutritious creamy white interior with thin papery brown skin.
Historically, hazelnuts are native to Europe and Asia, but nowadays, they grow worldwide, including in the United States. In fact, here at Ayoub’s, we source our hazelnuts from Oregon, where the climate is ideal for tasty hazelnuts.
While we prefer to source our hazelnuts from Oregon, 70% of total hazelnut production still comes from Asia, where labor is cheaper.
What are Some of the Health Benefits of Hazelnuts?
Hazelnuts are an ancient food with bountiful health benefits, including the ability to reduce cholesterol levels and boost heart health.
Here are just a few of their other incredible qualities.
- Hazelnuts are high in fiber, which is vital for gut health and digestion.
- Hazelnuts also contain Vitamin E, a powerful antioxidant that is beneficial to your skin, hair, and nails.
- They are also a good source of magnesium, potassium, and zinc - all of which are essential minerals for maintaining overall health.
What do Hazelnuts Taste Like?
Hazelnuts are often referred to as a "dessert nut" since they have a creamy, nutty taste and are frequently used in baked goods. While you could eat them plain, with just a little sugar and cocoa, they turn into delicious Nutella!
Of course, hazelnuts can also be used in savory dishes, and their creamy, nutty flavor lends itself well to use in pesto or as a substitute for walnuts, pecans, and pine nuts.
What's the Difference Between Filberts and Hazelnuts?
Depending on where you live, you may or may not have heard of filberts, but they’re just another word for hazelnuts.
Side-by-side, filberts and hazelnuts certainly look alike, and when eaten together, they also taste alike - but are they really the same?
The answer is - yes! Filberts and hazelnuts are the same things, and here's why.
Hazelnuts are the nut of any hazel tree, which includes any species from the genus Corylus. Both filberts and hazelnuts are nuts from the Corylus genus, which means that scientifically, they are the same thing - argument settled. In Europe, hazelnuts tend to be called filberts, but filberts are more commonly marketed as hazelnuts in the UK and the US. What you choose to call them is up to you at the end of the day.
So why the name Filberts?
It would be a lot easier if everyone called hazelnuts by the same name, but filberts are still the preferred terminology in some places.
The reason why some regions know hazelnuts as filberts are entirely down to coincidence. Hazelnuts matured around St. Philibert’s day, the day of a French monk, St. Philibert of Jumieges, and over time they became known as filberts.
Another theory about the origin of the name is that the word filbert can be traced back to the German word 'vollbart', which is translated to mean full-beard. This happens to be a good way of describing the shell of a hazelnut, and so maybe the reason why the nut was nicknamed a filbert.
Are Hazelnuts Really Good For You?
We’ve already touched upon some of the health benefits of eating hazelnuts, but they deserve a whole lot more recognition. Here are seven reasons why hazelnuts are a superfood:
1. Hazelnuts are full of healthy fats.
Not all fats are created equal, and hazelnuts are full of the good kind. They are jam-packed with both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fats, which not only help to lower harmful cholesterol levels but also reduce your risk of heart disease. While healthy fats are still calorie-dense, they’re much better for your body than saturated fats and are metabolized differently.
2. Hazelnuts are high in antioxidants.
Nuts such as hazelnuts are a great source of antioxidants. Antioxidants are powerful things and help to defend your body from free radicals, which can lead to diseases such as cancer. We should all be doing our best to eat more antioxidants, so grab a handful of hazelnuts!
3. Hazelnuts are a good source of fiber.
Most people fail to eat the recommended daily requirement of fiber, leading to constipation, digestive issues, and even bowel cancer. The good news is, it’s relatively easy to increase your fiber intake - simply opt for whole grains and add nuts into your diet.
4. Hazelnuts are a plant-based source of protein.
If you’re trying to eat more protein, then nuts make a fantastic plant-based option. A one-ounce serving of hazelnuts contains roughly 4.2g of protein, which is actually more than there is in a one-ounce serving of egg!
5. Hazelnuts are low in carbohydrates.
While carbohydrates aren’t the enemy, some people choose to avoid them for dietary reasons. If you happen to be looking for a tasty and nutritious snack that is also low in carbs, then hazelnuts make a good go-to. A one-ounce serving of hazelnuts contains just 5g of total carbohydrates, and 4.2g of this is fiber, meaning that they have less than 1g of net carbs. Hazelnuts are also naturally high in healthy fats and contain protein, making them perfect for the ketogenic diet.
6. Hazelnuts may help to improve brain health.
Recent research into the effect of hazelnuts on brain health has found them to help improve cognitive function in older adults. This is likely due to their high concentration of healthy fats. Another similar study showed that regularly eating hazelnuts could help to lower a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer's disease. So if you're looking for food that can help keep your brain healthy, hazelnuts are a good choice.
7. Hazelnuts are high in vitamin E.
Finally, of all the amazing nutrients packed into hazelnuts, Vitamin E needs a special shoutout. Besides being a powerful antioxidant, vitamin E is also responsible for keeping your skin looking healthy and youthful, which is why it often features in moisturizing creams. A one-ounce serving of hazelnuts contains approximately 4.26mg of vitamin E, which is 21% of a person's RDA.
Are Hazelnuts a Good Snack for Weightloss?
Losing weight involves eating in a calorie deficit. While it is possible to lose weight while eating fast-food and processed snacks, it’s a lot easier when you fuel your body with the things it needs to feel full and satiated. Here’s what you need to know about eating hazelnuts when trying to lose weight.
Are Hazelnuts Fattening?
Hazelnuts, and nuts in general, are very calorie-dense - meaning that you don’t need to eat very many of them to consume a fair few calories. This being said, the type of calories they contain is also an important consideration, and while they may contain a high amount of fat, it is primarily the good kind that helps to keep your heart healthy.
A one-ounce (28g) serving of hazelnuts contains:
- Calories: 178
- Fat: 17g
- Carbohydrates: 4.7g
- Fiber: 2.8g
- Sugars: 1.2g
- Protein: 4.2
As the figures above show, hazelnuts are mostly made up of healthy fats, but they also contain a good amount of protein and a decent amount of dietary fiber. Healthy fats, fiber, and protein all help you to feel satiated and full for longer, which will stop you from getting hunger cravings right after you’ve just eaten.
Just make sure to watch your portion size - a small handful of hazelnuts is all you need to get the benefits of this nutritious snack. If you want to make sure that you still lose weight while eating hazelnuts, then always weigh out your portions.
How Many Hazelnuts Should You Eat in a Day?
We get it, hazelnuts are tasty, but while it would be very easy to eat them for breakfast, lunch, and dinner, we wouldn’t advise it.
The recommended intake of hazelnuts is around 1-2 ounces per day. A one-ounce serving of hazelnuts is about 15-20 nuts, but it's best to weigh out your portions if you are trying to track your calories accurately.
For some people, eating two ounces of hazelnuts in one sitting may seem like a lot, but it's easy to eat that if you’re mindlessly grazing or making them into delicious nut butter.
What's the Best Way to Eat Hazelnuts?
What’s the best way to eat any food? When it comes to the best way to eat hazelnuts, it’s all down to preference. Some people like them whole as a nutty snack, while others like them incorporated into other dishes.
We love the idea of adding chopped hazelnuts to a salad or using them as a crumb for a fresh piece of fish or venison.
If you’re not a fan of hazelnuts but want to reap some of their health benefits, then they also make a great addition to smoothies or shakes where they add a creamy taste but are less noticeable.
So, if you're looking for a healthy and delicious snack to help with weight loss, hazelnuts are a great option. Just make sure to weigh out your portions and enjoy them in moderation - happy snacking!
What's the Difference Between Raw and Roasted Hazelnuts?
If you’re looking to buy hazelnuts, then one of the choices you’re going to have to make is whether you want to buy raw hazelnuts or roasted hazelnuts.
As their name suggests, Raw hazelnuts are raw, meaning they haven't been exposed to any heat and are therefore in their most natural state. Roasted hazelnuts, on the other hand, have been heated to a temperature of around 350 degrees F for around 15 minutes. This roasting process brings out more of the hazelnut's naturally nutty flavor and releases some of the nuts essential oils.
Can You Eat Raw Hazelnuts?
Yes, while some nuts, such as cashews, can be poisonous when eaten raw, most nuts, including hazelnuts, are perfectly edible in their natural state.
Both the milky white hazelnut itself and its brown papery skin are perfectly edible. However, while the inside of hazelnut is nutty and sweet, the skin can be slightly more bitter. This is the same for many nuts, including walnuts and almonds.
Which is Better for You? Raw or Roasted Hazelnuts?
Most people assume that raw hazelnuts are going to be better for them than roasted hazelnuts, but this isn’t necessarily the case. While heating hazelnuts to extreme temperatures such as 350 degrees F does affect their nutritional composition slightly, this doesn’t make roasted hazelnuts bad for you. Here’s what you need to know.
As far as calories are concerned, roasted hazelnuts tend to be more calorie-dense per gram because some water is lost in the roasting process. On the other hand, raw hazelnuts still contain all of their natural moisture, which makes them less calorific gram for gram. If you’re trying to lose weight, then you can eat more raw hazelnuts for the same amount of calories.
When it comes to sugar content, roasted hazelnuts are also often sweeter than raw hazelnuts, which can affect their carbohydrate content. For most people, this is just a flavor bonus, but if you're on a strict ketogenic diet, then you may want to stick to raw hazelnuts rather than roasted ones to keep your carb intake in check.
Besides having slightly different nutritional compositions, raw and roasted hazelnuts also taste different from one another. Raw hazelnuts have an earthy, more natural taste, while roasted hazelnuts are often nuttier and stronger in flavor.
Can You Roast Your Own Hazelnuts at Home?
We’ve heard of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, but can you roast hazelnuts at home. The answer is yes! In fact, many recipes call for raw hazelnuts and include the roasting process in their instructions. Here’s what to do:
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees F, and then spread your raw hazelnuts out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Be sure to keep them in a single layer; otherwise, they won’t roast evenly. Pop your baking tray in the oven for around 15 minutes giving the tray a gentle shake halfway through. Depending on the efficiency of your oven, you may be able to take them out sooner. You’ll know your hazelnuts are done when they are golden brown and smell toasty. While you may want to tuck in right away, you’re going to need to allow your hazelnuts to cool down completely; otherwise, you risk burning yourself.
Do Roasted Hazelnuts Last Longer than Raw Hazelnuts?
You may think that roasting hazelnuts will somehow make them last longer, but in fact, it’s the other way around.
Raw hazelnuts are easier to store than roasted hazelnuts because they go rancid less quickly. In general, nuts tend to last longer the less you mess with, meaning untouched nuts in their shells last the longest, while chopped roasted nuts will deteriorate the most quickly.
If you do want to roast your hazelnuts in advance, then be sure to store them in an airtight container and use them as soon as possible.
Should You Choose Raw or Roasted Hazelnuts in the Grocery Store?
If you’re stuck between buying raw or roasted hazelnuts, then it’s safest to just buy raw. Raw hazelnuts can always be roasted at home, while you can’t un-roast a roasted hazelnut.
At the end of the day, it's up to you to decide which variety you prefer - both raw and roasted hazelnuts offer plenty of health benefits!
How to Remove the Skin From Hazelnuts
This skin of your hazelnuts can be removed easily by blanching them in hot water for a few seconds. This will soften the skin and cause it to peel away from the nut beneath.
After blanching, the skin can then be rubbed off easily with your hands. Just be sure to let them cool down first! If you’re in a rush, then blanch your hazelnuts and immediately dunk them in ice water.
Do You Need to Remove the Skin from Hazelnuts?
Raw hazelnuts are often covered in a thin layer of papery brown skin. When roasted, this skin begins to flake off, which is why roasted hazelnuts are often patchy or more white in color. While the skin of hazelnuts is perfectly edible, it can be a little bitter, which is why some recipes call for you to roast or blanch your hazelnuts and to rub them with a tea towel to remove their skin.
At the end of the day, whether you prefer your hazelnuts naked or with their skin still on is entirely up to you - we won’t judge.
Do Hazelnuts Go Bad?
If you’ve got an open bag of hazelnuts sitting in the back of your pantry, then we’re sorry to tell you that they may no longer be good to eat.
Like all nuts, hazelnuts will eventually go bad in a process known as rancidification. Rancidification occurs when the oil in the nut starts to oxidize, leading to an unpleasant taste and smell. Hazelnut rancidity usually starts to occur after about a month or so of storage, though it can vary depending on the quality of the hazelnuts and how they're stored.
How Can You Tell if Hazelnuts Have Gone Bad?
If you're not sure whether your hazelnuts are still good to eat, there are a few things you can look out for.
First, check the color of the nut. If it's starting to look shriveled or blackened, that's a bad sign. While giving your hazelnuts the once over, also keep an eye out for any mold growth. Hazelnut mold looks like a greenish-white fuzz and can be quite dangerous to eat. If you see mold growing, even on just a few nuts, then it's best to discard the whole batch.
Second, give them a smell - if they smell sour or musty, they're probably past their prime. Fresh hazelnuts have a mild, nutty scent and shouldn't make your wrinkle your nose.
Finally, taste one of your hazelnuts - if it tastes strange or off, it's probably gone bad.
What Does a Rancid Hazelnut Taste Like?
Rancid hazelnuts will have an unpleasant sour taste and smell - some people compare the taste to nail varnish remover. If you've ever eaten a hazelnut and felt an odd tingling sensation on your tongue, that's another sign that the nut has gone bad. While it's not dangerous to eat hazelnuts that have gone off, they won't taste very good, so it's best to avoid them if possible.
How Can You Store Hazelnuts to Prevent Rancidification?
If you don’t want to eat your hazelnuts right away but also don’t want them to go bad, then we recommend storing them in an airtight container in a cool, dry place, like the pantry. You can also keep hazelnuts in the fridge or freezer, which will help them last even longer. Just make sure to bring them back to room temperature before eating them, as cold hazelnuts can be pretty hard to bite into.
How Long do Hazelnuts Last in the Fridge?
If you store hazelnuts in the fridge, they'll usually last for about two months. In the freezer, they'll last even longer - up to six months! Remember to place your hazelnuts in an airtight container first; otherwise, they could become moist or get freezer burn.
How to Make Hazelnut Coffee with Real Hazelnuts!
Most people are familiar with hazelnut flavored syrups, which are used to make Hazelnut beverages in mainstream coffee shops. What if we told you that you could make delicious tasting hazelnut coffee at home with real hazelnuts! Here’s how.
You will need:
- Coffee beans (whichever you like)
- Raw hazelnuts with their skin
- Milk of your choice
- Sugar or sweetener if using
How to Make Hazelnut Coffee:
- Measure out your coffee beans and your hazelnuts. A ration of two parts coffee to one part nuts is a good place to start, but you may want to adjust this once you've made your first batch.
- Next, grind your coffee beans and your hazelnuts together in a coffee grinder until they reach a coarse grind perfect for a French press.
- All that's left now is to brew your coffee. A French press is ideal for this process as it will help to bring out more of the hazelnut flavor. Simply place your coffee grinds into the French Press, pour over boiling water, and allow to brew for 5-7 minutes.
- Once brewed, gently push down the plunger and then pour your coffee as usual. Add milk and sugar if you're using them.
How to Give your Hazelnut Coffee More Flavor
If you're not satisfied with the nuttiness of your hazelnut coffee, then there are a number of things to try.
- Try roasting your hazelnuts before grinding them with your coffee beans. Roasting your hazelnuts will bring out more of their flavor.
- Increase your ratio of coffee to hazelnuts.
- Add a few drops of hazelnut extract.
- Make a hazelnut syrup and add it to your coffee.
How to Make Your Own Hazelnut Syrup
If you want to make a hazelnut coffee that tastes more like the one you may find in your local coffee shop, then you'll need to make your own hazelnut syrup. To do this, you only need three ingredients.
- 18 oz of white sugar
- 18 oz of water
9 oz of raw hazelnuts
- To make the syrup, start by roasting the raw hazelnuts in the oven at 350F for about 15 minutes or until brown and fragrant.
- Once cooled, roughly chop the roasted hazelnuts into pieces and set them to one side.
- Next, add the water and the sugar to a large saucepan and heat on medium heat until the sugar has dissolved. Once the sugar has dissolved, turn the heat down to low and add in your chopped roasted hazelnuts.
- Gently cook this sugar syrup for 45 minutes to an hour, stirring from time to time. Don't let the syrup get too thick, as it will thicken even more as it cools.
- To stop you from burning yourself, we recommend allowing your syrup to cool before straining it. Strain your hazelnut syrup through a sieve to remove any chunks of hazelnut, and then store in a jar or bottle until you're ready to use it.
- Add a little to your coffee for a sweet hazelnutty flavor.
How to Make Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
Making chocolate hazelnut spread at home is a lot easier than you might think! In just a few simple steps, you can create your own Nutella-style spread that’s perfect for topping toast, waffles, pancakes, or even just eating straight out of the jar. Here’s how to do it:
What You’ll Need to Make Your Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- 1 cup of raw hazelnuts
- 1/2 cup chocolate chips
- 1/4 cup maple syrup
- 1 tsp vanilla extract
- 1 tsp of vegetable oil
How to Make Your Own Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
- Preheat your oven to 375 degrees F. Spread your hazelnuts on a baking sheet, ensure they aren't sitting on top of each other, and roast for 8-10 minutes until lightly browned. Give them a shake or two to help them roast evenly.
- Once fragrant and lightly browned, remove the hazelnuts from the oven and place them into a tea towel. While they are still hot and slightly steamy, give them a good rub with the teatowel to dislodge most of their skin. This process isn't entirely necessary but will help your spread to have a smoother texture.
- Once cooled, place your hazelnuts in a food processor and pulse until they’re broken down into a thick paste. This part of the process may take a couple of minutes, depending on the speed of your food processor.
- It can take a little while for your hazelnuts to release their natural oil and become smooth, so don't rush this part of the process. Scrape down the sides of your food processor and keep blitzing your hazelnuts until they reach your desired consistency.
- Meanwhile, melt the chocolate chips together with the oil, vanilla, and maple syrup.
- Next, slowly add your melted chocolate mixture to your blended hazelnuts. Keep the food processor running and pulse to combine all of the ingredients.
- If the mixture is too thick, add an additional teaspoon of oil or a teaspoon of water.
We’ve tried to keep this recipe nice and straightforward, but if you’d like to spice it up a little, then here are a few things to try.
- Add a pinch or two of salt
- Use white chocolate chips or dark chocolate chips
- Add in some peppermint extract
- Try adding in some chopped hazelnuts at the end for a crunchy texture.
How to Store Your Homemade Chocolate Hazelnut Spread
While we don’t think your chocolate spread will be around for long if you want to store it for later, then pop it in the fridge, and it will keep for up to a month. To give your chocolate hazelnut spread a more spreadable texture, we recommend bringing it to room temperature before using it.
Have we convinced you to give hazelnuts another try? We sure hope so.
If you are now looking to replenish your pantry with fresh, delicious hazelnuts, then we’ve got you covered. While it’s easy enough to pick up a bag of hazelnuts at most grocery stores, the most cost-effective way to buy hazelnuts is definitely in bulk. Here's where to bulk buy hazelnuts online in Canada.
Where to Bulk Buy Hazelnuts Online in Canada?
It's no secret that you can buy virtually anything online nowadays - including hazelnuts. Here are three of the most popular places to purchase hazelnuts online for delivery across Canada.
Amazon has quickly become the go-to for online shoppers looking for a one-stop shop for all their needs. They carry an impressive inventory of hazelnuts from both small and large suppliers, and some of them also offer free shipping. If you're going to buy hazelnuts from Amazon, then just be sure to read a few customer reviews to make sure that the nuts you're buying are of good edible quality.
Hazelnuts are also available in most grocery stores, including Walmart.ca. Walmart has a great selection of bulk sizes to choose from, and their prices are very competitive. Just like with Amazon, be sure to read customer reviews before making your purchase.
Ayoub's Dried Fruit and Nuts
We couldn't tell you where to find hazelnuts without mentioning our online store. We only stock the highest quality dried fruit and nuts at Ayoub's, and we source our hazelnuts from Oregon, which boasts an ideal climate for growing the world’s highest quality hazelnuts. We've got organic hazelnuts, raw hazelnuts, and lightly salted hazelnuts, and you can buy them in 1lb and 2.5lb packs.
Why Buy Your Hazelnuts in Bulk?
Well, there are several reasons to buy your hazelnuts in bulk;
1) You'll save money by buying in bulk.
2) You won't need to buy them as frequently.
3) And if you buy them from us at Ayoub's, we also offer free shipping on orders over $80!
How to Store Hazelnuts if You Buy in Bulk
If you are going to buy a large number of hazelnuts, then it's essential to store them correctly. Here are a few tips:
- Store your hazelnuts in an airtight container. Ideally, keep them in their original packaging for as long as possible.
- Keep your hazelnuts in a cool, dry place such as the pantry.
- Split your hazelnuts into smaller batches - store one batch in the pantry for use right away, store one in the fridge for use next, and the last batch in the freezer.
We hope this has helped you on your quest to find hazelnuts online in Canada. Check out all the excellent bulk buying options available online and happy hazelnut snacking.
Sign up to get email updates