Hazelnuts can be found especially in countries surrounding the Mediterranean Sea. The hazelnut nowadays grows in Turkey, Spain, Italy and the United States, but is originally from Turkey.
Fruit from the hazel
The hazelnut is a fruit of the hazelnut tree, a tree that reaches some three to five metres high. The tree has a thin stem and is very densely covered with leaves. The leaves can be recognized by their round, oval or heart shape. From the beginning of its growth, the hazelnut is protected by bracts that later form hard shells. The hazel tree does not produce any flowers in the spring, unlike other nut trees. It grows on calcium-rich humus containing lots of moisture and grows from January to April. As the nut ripens, the shell of the nut changes to a yellow orange. The hazelnut does better in a cool and moist summer than in a dry hot one.
Symbol of peace and health
The hazelnut has been known from time immemorial. The Greeks and Romans ate the nut because of its exceptional flavour. The hazelnut was used as medication in the old days. Not only the nut was used, the bark and leaves of the tree were also used against various ailments. Furthermore, the tree was the symbol of marriage, abundance of wealth and family happiness. The hazelnut was seen, as it were, as the symbol of peace and health and a source of wealth and power.
Hazelnuts are a good source of vitamin E. A handful of hazelnuts (25 g) contains no less than 50% of the Guideline Daily Amount (GDA). Vitamin E is a strong antioxidant. Antioxidants can play an important role in preventing cardiovascular diseases and cancer.
Further informationen to other nuts: