What is Hazelnut?

Hazelnut, scientifically known as Corylus avellana, is a small, roundish nut that grows on the hazel tree. This nut is encased in a hard, woody shell, which is surrounded by a thin, papery husk. The hazelnut tree is native to Europe and western Asia and is cultivated in various parts of the world for its delicious nuts. Hazelnuts have a unique flavor profile that can be described as slightly sweet and nutty, making them a popular choice in both culinary and confectionery applications.

The hazelnut tree is a deciduous plant that typically grows up to 12 meters in height. It produces oval-shaped leaves with serrated edges and yellowish catkins, which are clusters of small flowers that appear in early spring. These flowers are wind-pollinated and give rise to the small green fruits that contain hazelnuts. Once the nuts ripen, they fall from the tree and can be collected for consumption or further processing.

Hazelnuts have been enjoyed for centuries due to their rich taste and versatile nature. They are commonly used as a key ingredient in numerous sweet and savory dishes. Whether incorporated into pastries, chocolates, spreads, or used as a topping for salads or roasted vegetables, hazelnuts provide a delightful crunch and a distinct flavor that enhances the overall culinary experience. They can also be ground into a smooth paste, known as hazelnut butter, which is a popular alternative to other nut butter.

Apart from their culinary applications, hazelnuts are often utilized for their oil. The oil extracted from these nuts is highly valued for its nutritional composition and is used in cooking and skincare products and as a carrier oil for essential oils. Hazelnut oil is known for its delicate flavor, making it a great addition to salad dressings, marinades, and desserts. It is also appreciated for its high content of monounsaturated fats, vitamin E, and various antioxidants, which contribute to its potential health benefits.

In conclusion, hazelnuts are small, round nuts that grow on the hazel tree. They possess a unique flavor and are widely utilized in cooking, confectionery, and skincare products. Whether enjoyed on their own, added to recipes, or processed into oil, hazelnuts provide a delightful taste and bring a pleasant texture to a variety of dishes. With their long history of consumption and versatile applications, hazelnuts continue to be a beloved ingredient in cuisines around the world.

Hazelnut Production in the World

Turkiye is the top country producing Hazelnuts in the world. As of 2022, Turkiye produced 765,000 tonnes of Hazelnuts, accounting for 63.98% of the total production. Italy is the world's second-largest Hazelnuts producer, with 98,670 tonnes, which represents 8.25% of the total production. In terms of hazelnut yield, Greece is the most productive country on the planet with 25,694. Azerbaijan, the United States, and Chile are the top three leading countries with '72,105', '70,310', '62,557', and '33,400' tonnes respectively. Bhutan has the lowest production of Hazelnuts in the world with only 13 tonnes in 2022. The world's total production of hazelnuts was estimated at 1,195,732 tonnes in 2022.


Top 10 Countries by Hazelnuts Production in 2022

Top Countries by Production of Hazelnuts in 2022

Rank Country Production(Tonnes) Acreage(Hectare) Yield
United States

Cultivation of Hazelnut

The cultivation of hazelnuts, also known as hazel or filbert nuts, involves specific practices to ensure successful growth and yield. Here are some key aspects of hazelnut cultivation:

  1. Climate and Soil Requirements: Hazelnuts thrive in temperate climates and prefer areas with cool winters and mild summers. They require a chilling period during winter for proper bud development. Hazelnuts grow best in well-drained soils with a pH level ranging from 5.5 to 7.5. They can tolerate a range of soil types, including loamy, sandy, or clay soils.
  2. Tree Selection and Planting: Hazelnut trees are usually propagated through grafting or budding onto rootstocks. Selecting disease-resistant varieties is crucial to ensure a healthy crop. Hazelnut trees are typically spaced 4 to 6 meters apart to allow adequate sunlight and airflow. They should be planted in early spring or late autumn when the soil is workable.
  3. Pruning and Training: Proper pruning is essential for hazelnut trees to maintain their shape, encourage airflow, and promote fruiting. Training the trees to have a central leader and an open canopy helps with sunlight penetration and reduces disease incidence. Pruning is usually done during the dormant season to remove dead or diseased wood and thin out branches for optimal growth.
  4. Pollination and Fertilization: Most hazelnut varieties require cross-pollination for a good fruit set. It is essential to plant compatible varieties within proximity for successful pollination. Bees and other pollinators play a crucial role in transferring pollen between flowers. Hazelnut trees have relatively low nutrient requirements but benefit from well-balanced fertilization with nitrogen, phosphorus, and potassium to support healthy growth and fruit production.
  5. Disease and Pest Management: Hazelnuts are susceptible to various diseases and pests, including Eastern filbert blight, bacterial blight, aphids, mites, and caterpillars. Regular monitoring, early detection, and appropriate control measures are essential for managing these challenges. Integrated pest management (IPM) practices, such as cultural controls, biological controls, and judicious use of pesticides, can help protect the crop while minimizing environmental impact.
  6. Harvesting and Storage: The harvest of hazelnuts generally takes place during late summer or early autumn, once the nuts have reached full maturity. An indication that they are ready for harvest is when the husks surrounding the nuts transition to a brown color and start to crack open. Harvesting methods include manual picking or employing machinery such as shakers or harvesters. Following the harvest, it is crucial to dry the nuts to reduce moisture levels and prevent the development of mold. By storing hazelnuts in cool and dry conditions, their quality can be preserved, and their shelf life can be extended.

Achieving successful hazelnut cultivation necessitates diligent consideration of these factors, coupled with consistent maintenance and management procedures. Through adherence to appropriate cultivation methods and proactive resolution of potential obstacles, hazelnut growers can achieve a bountiful and environmentally sound crop.

Health Benefits of Hazelnut

Hazelnuts offer a range of health benefits due to their nutrient composition. Here are some of the potential health benefits associated with consuming hazelnuts:

  1. Nutrient Rich: Hazelnuts are packed with essential nutrients. They are a good source of healthy fats, including monounsaturated fats like oleic acid, which can help reduce bad cholesterol levels and promote heart health. Hazelnuts also contain vitamins such as vitamin E, which acts as an antioxidant, protecting cells from oxidative damage, and B vitamins like folate, which is important for red blood cell production.
  2. Heart Health: The monounsaturated fats found in hazelnuts can help improve heart health by reducing LDL (bad) cholesterol levels and increasing HDL (good) cholesterol levels. They also contain a significant amount of magnesium, which is involved in maintaining a healthy heart rhythm and blood pressure levels.
  3. Antioxidant Properties: Hazelnuts are rich in antioxidants like vitamin E and phytochemicals, which help protect the body against oxidative stress caused by free radicals. Antioxidants play a vital role in reducing inflammation and lowering the risk of chronic diseases such as heart disease, certain cancers, and neurodegenerative disorders.
  4. Weight Management: Despite being energy-dense, hazelnuts can be beneficial for weight management. The combination of healthy fats, fiber, and protein in hazelnuts helps promote satiety and can reduce overall calorie intake. The fiber content aids in digestion supports gut health, and helps regulate blood sugar levels.
  5. Nutrient Absorption: Hazelnuts contain a significant amount of vitamin E, which plays a crucial role in the absorption and utilization of other fat-soluble vitamins, such as vitamins A, D, and K. Consuming hazelnuts alongside foods rich in these vitamins can enhance their absorption and overall nutritional benefit.
  6. Bone Health: Hazelnuts contain minerals like calcium, magnesium, and phosphorus, which are essential for maintaining healthy bones and teeth. These minerals contribute to bone density and strength, reducing the risk of osteoporosis and fractures.

It's important to note that while hazelnuts offer several potential health benefits, they are also high in calories. Therefore, portion control is necessary, especially for individuals aiming to manage their weight. Additionally, individuals with nut allergies should avoid hazelnuts or consult with a healthcare professional before consuming them.

Incorporating hazelnuts into a balanced diet can be a nutritious and flavorful way to support overall health and well-being.

Nutritional Information of Hazelnut

Here is the approximate nutritional composition of hazelnuts per 100 grams:

  • Calories: 628 kcal
  • Total Fat: 61.6 grams
  • Carbohydrates: 16.7 grams
  • Protein: 14.1 grams
  • Vitamin E: 15 mg (79% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Thiamin (Vitamin B1): 0.6 mg (42% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Vitamin B6: 0.6 mg (32% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Folate: 113 μg (28% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Calcium: 114 mg (11% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Magnesium: 163 mg (41% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Phosphorus: 290 mg (29% of the recommended daily intake)
  • Potassium: 680 mg (15% of the recommended daily intake)

Please note that these values are approximate and can vary depending on factors such as the variety of hazelnuts and growing conditions.

Regional Variety of Hazelnut

Hazelnuts are cultivated in various regions around the world, and different varieties are associated with specific regions. Here are a few examples of regional hazelnut varieties and their common uses:

  1. Tonda Gentile delle Langhe (Italy):

    • This variety of hazelnut is primarily grown in the Piedmont region of Italy.

    • Tonda Gentile delle Langhe hazelnuts are highly regarded for their exceptional quality and flavor.

    • They are commonly used in the production of Nutella, a popular hazelnut spread.

    • These hazelnuts are also used in baking, confections, and as a standalone snack.

  2. Barcelona (Spain):

    • Barcelona hazelnuts are cultivated in Spain and are known for their large size, round shape, and thin shell.

    • They have a sweet and rich flavor.

    • Barcelona hazelnuts are often used in baking, desserts, confections, and as a standalone snack.

  3. Oregon Hazelnuts (United States):

    • Oregon Hazelnuts, also known as Filberts, are grown in the state of Oregon, USA.

    • They have a slightly larger size and a slightly thicker shell compared to other varieties.

    • Oregon Hazelnuts have a rich flavor and are often used in baking, confections, chocolates, and as a snack.

    • They are also used in savory dishes, such as salads, roasted vegetables, and as a coating for meat or fish.

  4. Turkish Hazelnuts (Turkey):

    • Turkey is one of the largest producers of hazelnuts globally, and Turkish hazelnuts are well-known for their quality.

    • They are versatile and used in various culinary applications, including baking, confections, desserts, and as a snack.

    • Turkish hazelnuts are also commonly used to produce hazelnut oil, which is used in cooking, salad dressings, and skincare products.

  5. Georgian Hazelnuts (Georgia):

    • Georgia is known for its production of hazelnuts, particularly in the western part of the country.

    • Georgian hazelnuts are often used in local cuisine, including traditional sweets, pastries, and sauces.

They are also exported for use in the global confectionery and bakery industries. These regional hazelnut varieties have distinct characteristics and flavors that make them sought after for specific culinary uses and specialties.

Structure of Hazelnut

The structure of a hazelnut consists of several distinct components. Here is an overview of the different parts of a hazelnut:

  1. Shell: The shell is the hard outer covering of the hazelnut. It acts as a protective layer, encasing the kernel within.
  2. Husk: The husk is the outermost layer of the hazelnut, which surrounds the shell. It is usually a rough and fibrous covering that provides additional protection for the kernel.
  3. Kernel: The kernel refers to the edible part of the hazelnut that is enclosed within the shell. It is the part of the nut that is commonly consumed and has a distinct flavor and texture.
  4. Skin: The kernel of the hazelnut is covered by a thin, papery skin. This skin is light tan or cream-colored and is often removed before consumption, although it is also sometimes eaten along with the kernel.

The overall structure of hazelnut is designed to safeguard the kernel and protect it from external elements until it is ready to be consumed or used for propagation.

Types of Hazelnut

There are several different types of hazelnuts, each with its unique characteristics. Here are some of the popular varieties of hazelnuts:

  1. Common Hazel (Corylus avellana): Common Hazel is the most widely cultivated and commercially available type of hazelnut. It has a thin shell and a sweet, mild flavor. Common Hazel is often used in culinary applications and is the variety commonly found in grocery stores.
  2. Filbert (Corylus maxima): Filbert is another common variety of hazelnut. It has a slightly larger size compared to Common Hazel and a slightly thicker shell. Filberts are known for their rich flavor and are often used in confections, baking, and as a snack.
  3. Barcelona: Barcelona is a popular variety of hazelnut, particularly in Spain. It has a large size, a round shape, and a thin shell. Barcelona hazelnuts have a sweet and rich flavor and are often used in baking, desserts, and as a standalone snack.
  4. Tonda Gentile delle Langhe: This variety of hazelnut is highly regarded for its exceptional quality and flavor. Tonda Gentile delle Langhe is grown in the Piedmont region of Italy and is known for its round shape, medium size, and thin shell. It has a rich, buttery flavor and is commonly used in the production of Nutella, a popular hazelnut spread.
  5. American Hazelnut (Corylus americana): Native to North America, the American Hazelnut is a smaller-sized nut with a slightly thicker shell. It has a sweeter and milder flavor compared to the European varieties. American Hazelnuts are often used in cooking, baking, and as a source of food for wildlife.

These examples only scratch the surface of the numerous varieties of hazelnuts that exist. The specific type and attributes of hazelnuts can differ depending on the region of cultivation and the particular cultivar. Each variety possesses its unique flavor profile, which contributes to the versatility of hazelnuts as an ingredient in a wide range of culinary creations.

Uses of Hazelnut

Hazelnuts have a wide range of uses in various culinary and non-culinary applications. Here are some common uses of hazelnuts:

  1. Culinary Uses:

    • Baking: Hazelnuts are commonly used in baking and pastry-making. They can be incorporated into cakes, cookies, muffins, bread, and other baked goods, adding a rich, nutty flavor and a pleasant crunch.
    • Confectionery: Hazelnuts are a key ingredient in many confectionery products. They are used in chocolates, pralines, truffles, and nougats, providing a delicious combination of flavors and textures.
    • Nut Butter: Hazelnuts can be ground into smooth and creamy nut butter, known as hazelnut butter. This nut butter can be used as a spread, a topping for toast or pancakes, or as an ingredient in sauces and dressings.
    • Desserts: Hazelnuts are often used in desserts like ice creams, mousses, tarts, and pies, adding a delightful crunch and enhancing the overall flavor profile.
    • Garnish and Topping: Chopped or toasted hazelnuts can be used as a garnish or topping for various dishes, including salads, roasted vegetables, yogurt, and breakfast bowls.
  2. Beverage Flavoring:

    • Hazelnut flavor is popular in beverages such as coffee, hot chocolate, and liqueurs. Hazelnut syrup or extracts are added to impart a distinct nutty taste and aroma.

  3. Hazelnut Oil:

    • Hazelnut oil is derived from hazelnuts and is used for culinary and non-culinary purposes. It is appreciated for its delicate flavor and is commonly used in salad dressings, marinades, and as a finishing oil for dishes.

    • Hazelnut oil is often used in skincare products due to its moisturizing properties. It can be found in lotions, creams, and hair care products, providing hydration and nourishment to the skin and hair.

  4. Decorative and Artistic Applications:

    • Whole hazelnuts, with or without their shells, can be used for decorative purposes in crafts, wreaths, and holiday ornaments.

    • Hazelnut shells can also be ground and used as a natural material in art projects, mosaics, and sculptures.

These are just a few examples of the diverse uses of hazelnuts. Their versatility, distinct flavor, and appealing texture make them a popular choice in a wide range of culinary creations and beyond.