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Oregon Hazelnuts

Filberts

We’re nuts about filberts.

For thousands of years, filberts have been grown and harvested all across the globe. Burnt fragments of filberts were found in ancient Stone Age sites in what is currently Sweden, Denmark and Germany. In an ancient Chinese script dating to 2838 BCE, filberts are listed as one of China’s five sacred foods. They believed that filberts could be used as medicine

Filberts vs. Hazelnuts

We often get asked, “What’s the difference between filberts and hazelnuts?” The short answer is simply that there is no difference. The main distinction between them is the name. Both “hazelnut” and “filbert” are used to describe the same nut, but the answer to why we use two different words lies in the history books. In Oregon (where 99 percent of the country’s hazelnut production occurs) early French settlers were the first to plant filbert/hazelnut trees. Filbert is the French word for the tree while hazelnut is the English word. The story goes that filberts got their name from the feast of St. Philibert’s Day which falls around August 20 and is the peak harvest time for the nut. The word hazelnut comes from the Anglo-Saxon word haesel which means bonnet, referring to the husk which surrounds the nut. While the rest of the world tends to favor the word hazelnut, filbert has long been preferred by Oregonians even after the Oregon Filbert Commission switched to the term hazelnut in 1981. The hazelnut (filbert) became Oregon’s official State Nut in 1989. Even though we named our farm after the English name for the nut, we still like to honor the tradition of filberts in our state and use the two terms interchangeably.

Health Benefits of Filberts

Filberts pack a bunch of great health benefits and can be a very healthy addition to your diet. They contain vitamins and minerals which promote heart health and have monounsaturated fats which are the good kind of fats as they help to reduce bad cholesterol and reduce the risk of heart attack or stroke. Filberts are also full of magnesium which is good for your blood pressure. Filberts contain high levels of vitamin E which helps to maintain healthy skin and hair and is a vitamin that Americans normally lack in their diets. Filberts are packed full of antioxidants and have a bunch of elements which promote brain function. Basically, there is a multitude of positive health benefits from including filberts in your diet.

Great Ways to Serve Filberts

There is almost no limit to the number of ways that filberts can be prepared and enjoyed. If you appreciate their roasted, earthy flavor then the possibilities are endless. Hazelnut flavoring is often added to coffee and as a garnish to sweets and other savory dishes. We use them in various chocolates and candies, but filberts also make a great addition to countless healthy meals, dishes and delicacies.

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