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The Hazelnut Harvest
The hazelnut is the fruit of the common hazelnut tree, also known as filbert. The term hazelnut also refers to the edible seed contained within the fruit. The hazelnut is a shell with a woody pericarp, enclosing a single seed that occupies its entire cavity. The fruit can reach up to 3 cm in length and about 2 cm in diameter. Until maturity, the hazelnut is protected by an envelope divided into irregular lobes at its end. The envelope varies in appearance based on the species, with some being more enveloping and having large, stocky, dry, and sometimes prickly hairs. Hazelnuts generally grow in clusters of two or three fruits. When ripe, the envelope dries up and opens at its end, exposing the fruit to daylight and allowing it to acquire its brown color. At this stage, the hazelnut seed becomes rich in sugar, oil, and minerals. Maturation takes place in autumn, and hazelnut harvesting is carried out from late August to September. Turkey is currently the world's largest producer and exporter of hazelnuts, followed by Italy and France, which ranks ninth.
Hazelnuts and Their Various Uses, Including in Perfumery
Hazelnuts have numerous applications. They are consumed as dry fruits, grated into powder or shavings for pastries or confectionery, and when pressed, produce an edible oil that is prone to rancidity. Hazelnuts are popular not only for their flavor but also for their nutritional content, including omega-9, magnesium, iron, fiber, copper, phosphorus, and vitamins E and B. As a result, they contribute to fighting cellular aging, bad cholesterol, colon cancer, rheumatism, anemia, stress, and fatigue. In perfumery, the hazelnut scent is fully reconstituted by the perfumer, while its oil is used in cosmetics.
In fragrances, the hazelnut imparts a green, slightly woody note, which is simultaneously sweet and indulgent. Perfumers particularly appreciate its toasted flavor, reminiscent of praline. Thierry Mugler's Angel Muse is an excellent example of a perfume that proudly features the hazelnut note.
Fun Facts About Hazelnuts
- Hazelnuts have been consumed since ancient times, with archaeological evidence dating back to 7,000 BCE.
- Hazelnuts are often used as an ingredient in chocolate confections, such as Nutella and Ferrero Rocher.
- According to folklore, hazelnuts were believed to possess mystical powers and were used for divination and protection against evil spirits.
- Hazelnuts are pollinated by wind, not insects, with the male catkins releasing pollen that is carried by the wind to the female flowers.