How delicious are hazelnuts … and how expensive! Surely more than one of you will have considered planting a tree that gives you some of these nuts each year. However, there is a question that many people ask about hazelnut: How long does it take to bear fruit?
We will answer this question and more in this article. In addition, we will talk about the types of hazelnuts that exist, how they are consumed and what are their healthiest properties for our bodies.
How are hazelnuts produced?
The famous nuts called hazelnuts come from a betulaceous tree with a similar name: hazelnut. The best season of the year to sow it is in the fall. This task can be carried out with seeds extracted from the plant or with seeds purchased in a garden. The hazelnut can reach a height of up to eight meters and in spring it begins to bloom and bear fruit
When choosing the land to sow, we must take into account that the land is very fertile, has excellent drainage and that the climate is temperate, that is, with cool temperatures in winter and mild in summer. The soil should not be too wet or heavy, while the area should be slightly shaded.
It should be noted that, despite its enormous dimensions and the highly nutritious fruit it creates, it is a very resistant and even self-sufficient betulácea. Taking into account that hazelnut is an important growth tree, we can control it through a good pruning technique.
When and how are hazelnut fruits harvested
Hazel blossoms in spring. Its highly coveted fruit forms inside a hard peel or tan-colored shell and is ready to be picked after about eight months. The harvest of it can be done manually or by using specialized machinery. However, if we do not dedicate ourselves to the cultivation of hazelnut in very extensive fields, this last option would not be profitable at all due to the high cost of the machines.
Harvesting hazelnuts should be done when the fruit begins to wither. You have to do it with great care and at the right time. If we wait too long to harvest the hazelnuts, they will end up with too much moisture. Ideally, the fruit should not exceed 7% or 8% humidity. In the event that the percentage is higher, it will not be possible to dry correctly and, as a consequence, the fruit loses quality at the time of consumption.
How hazelnuts are eaten
When consuming the hazelnut fruits, the kernel can be eaten both raw and cooked, as a whole dried fruit or as a paste. The dark skin that surrounds it usually has a bitter taste, so it is common to remove it. In addition, from hazelnut we can obtain an oil whose flavor is quite strong and characteristic. The most common use that we give to hazelnuts is in caramels, confectionery or mixed with chocolate. It should also be noted that it is usually one of the main ingredients in most cocoa spreads, such as Nocilla or Nutella. As for the paste of this dried fruit, it is one of the main ingredients of the so-called Viennese torts.
It should be noted that hazelnuts have a very high nutritional level due to their mineral and protein content. In fact, they used to recommend the consumption of these nuts in the past to treat poisonous animal bites, amoebiasis, cough and uricemia. Meanwhile, in marriage ceremonies, hazelnuts were considered an emblem of fertility.
One of the main reasons why hazelnut is used so much is because of its organoleptic characteristics, apart from its calcium content and its high energy level from oil, proteins and carbohydrates. It is a healthy dried fruit that helps reduce the risk of acquiring certain cardiovascular and pathological diseases. In addition, it is a natural source of vitamins E and C, not to mention its excellent antioxidant properties. Thanks to the monounsaturated fatty acids it contains, hazelnut helps reduce high cholesterol.
Hazelnut fruit properties
Apart from the advantages offered by the consumption of hazelnut that we have already mentioned, this dried fruit also has other very beneficial properties for our health. We will name you below:
- Combat constipation, tiredness, fatigue and some diseases such as osteoporosis and arthritis.
- Reduces high cholesterol levels.
- It prevents some heart diseases.
- Avoid descaling.
It is clear that eating nuts, such as hazelnut, is healthy, but always in moderation. Above all, we must avoid the consumption of hazelnuts when we are allergic to nuts, such as almonds, peanuts, etc.
As is often the case in the botanical world, there is more than one type of hazelnut. There are a total of three subspecies of this fruit:
- Corylus avellana racemosa Lam : These hazelnuts are grouped in clusters. They have a round, bulky and striated appearance.
- Corylus avellana glandulosa Lin : Has an acorn-like appearance. Its size is variable and its shell is soft.
- Corylus avellana maximum Lam : it is round, thick and medium, with a hard shell. It is called Neapolitan hazelnut.
Within these subspecies there are different varieties of hazelnuts. They are as follows:
- Negret : It is a hazelnut, it is small and grows grouped in about three or four units. It has a hard shell and its origin is from Spain.
- Fertile : This fruit is thick and also grows in groups, but in two or three units. This variety is very old and comes from France.
- Ennis : The Ennis has a medium thick shell and is native to the United States.
- Tonda : This hazelnut is one of the largest that exists and has a thick shell. It is one of the oldest and comes from Italy.
If you are thinking of planting a hazelnut to enjoy its delicious and very healthy dried fruit, I encourage you to try it!