How to Use Hazelnuts

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Hazelnuts are rich in protein, unsaturated fat, fiber, vitamin E, magnesium and B vitamins and are considered a healthy, nutritious food. They can be purchased whole in the shell or shelled, in halves, slivers and chopped with or without skins. Hazelnuts can be eaten alone as a snack, are often used in confectionery products such as pralines and chocolate truffles and can also be incorporated into savory dishes. There are many ways you can add hazelnuts to your diet.

Things You'll Need

  • Nutcracker Food processor
  • Purchase whole hazelnuts in their shells for the freshest nuts for snacking. Use a nutcracker and try to keep the shell pieces within your hand while cracking them in order to catch any flying debris and make sure you do not loose the nut. Either eat them as you go, or shell lots of nuts and combine them with other types of nut to make a snack mix.

  • Make hazelnut butter by roasting whole hazelnuts on a cookie sheet in a warm oven until lightly toasted, then blending the nuts to a smooth paste in a food processor. Use the hazelnut butter as an alternative to peanut butter, as an unusual ingredient in savory sauces, or add it to sweet confections for a mild, nutty flavor.

  • Purchase chopped hazelnuts or chop whole nuts in your food processor to make a tasty crust for fish and poultry. Blend the chopped nuts with herbs, spices and other ingredients of your choice, then sprinkle over pieces of raw fish or poultry before baking them in the oven.

  • Incorporate hazelnuts when making sweet, confectionery goods by sprinkling chopped nuts over the top of the finished goods as a delicious garnish, or incorporating some into batters and doughs. Substitute any kind of nut a recipe calls for with hazelnuts, or use half hazelnuts and half other nuts.

  • Use hazelnuts to give an unusual twist to homemade pesto. Simply substitute the traditional pine nuts in the recipe with an equal weight of roasted or unroasted hazelnuts and use the sauce as you would use regular pesto.

Tips & Warnings

  • When cracking hazelnuts, do not use too much pressure or you will smash the hazelnut into little pieces. Start with gentle pressure and gradually increase it until the shell starts to crack. When baking or roasting hazelnuts, keep your eye on them and check frequently to prevent them from burning.
  • Small children should not be given whole hazelnuts as a snack as they can be a choking hazard.

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