What are Hazelnuts and What do They Taste Like?
How you ever wondered what is that earthy nutty flavor base in Nutella? Some of you may already know about the secret ingredient of Nutella: hazelnuts! Whether you call them hazelnuts or filberts, the unique taste and crunchy texture of these exotic hazel-colored nuts transforms every food from ordinary to extraordinary.
In this Article, I am going to tell you more about this wonderful magical nut.
You can find out more on our other blogs on how to peel hazelnuts, the fun facts of hazelnuts, and their health benefits.
What Are hazelnuts?
The Hazelnut is the nut of the hazel tree which is also called filberts. Hazelnuts contain the highest level of vitamin E, which plays an essential role in preserving healthy skin, nails, and hair, and can also protect against cognitive decay, inflammation, and fatty liver condition.
They are also full of unsaturated fats, calcium, magnesium, and vitamins B. Therefore, they support good heart health, may decrease the risk of cancer, and assist with muscle, skin, bone, joint, and digestive health.
Hazelnuts are different in color and texture depending upon the type.
Three main groups are belonging to different subspecies according to their shape, volume, and shell hardness:
- (Corylus avellane racemose Lam): These hazelnuts are grouped in clusters; they are round and huge and often netted.
- Corylus avellane glandules’ Lin: These hazelnuts have acorn shapes, variable sizes, with a cone shape of the narrower base and acuminate apex — not very hard shell.
- Corylus avellane Maxima Lam: They have aspheric or round shapes, large or medium fruits, and hard shells.
What do Hazelnuts Taste Like?
The characteristic flavor of hazelnuts is nutty, toasted, with slight notes of musty and earthy.
One of the significant flavor mixtures found in hazelnuts is filbertone. Filbertone is naturally occurring ketone found in hazelnut oil. It has a roasted, marbled, sweet, and long-lasting character. The unique thing about this compound is that it can be applied to test for the authenticity of olive oil. To adulterate olive oil, some individuals add small quantities of cheap hazelnut oil to the olive oil. Hence, if a sample is artificial one can use gas chromatography coupled with mass spectroscopy to test if filbertone.
Another important compound responsible for the smell of hazelnuts is the bean pyrazine. This compound has a fragrance described as being pea-like, beany, earthy, chocolaty and nutty. This is why bean pyrazine can also be found in coffee. 2-methoxy-3,5-dimethyl pyrazine is other compounds in hazelnut which smells like almond, roasted almonds, or the characteristic smell we know as hazelnuts.
What goes well with Hazelnuts?
- Hazelnut and Dill:Dill has a sharp, green, lemony, and herbal flavor despite its vegetal combination it has a great potential to combine with hazelnuts. Hazelnuts have a sophisticated earthy tone which can complement the herbal and green taste found in dill.
- Hazelnut and Avocado: Both of these ingredients are naturally marbled. Avocados have subtle notes of hazelnut and anise; this is why they can play off the authentic flavor of hazelnuts.
- Hazelnut and Garlic: Roasted Garlic has a caramelized sweet flavor which is heightened by the roasted nutty flavor of hazelnuts. Both of them are further magnified when lemon is added to add a dimension of sharpness and freshness. Try blending these ingredients for a sauce over chicken!
Along with their vibrant, sweet, and nutty flavor, hazelnuts can add a great crunchy texture to bakery products such as bread, muffins, brownies, cookies, cakes, and biscotti. They also add a great richness to salads, pastries, dressings, and sauces, and are a tasty and nutritious addition to snack foods.
That’s it guys.
Hope you enjoyed this article. You may also read about “How to choose and store hazelnuts“.