There’s nothing quite like the smell of hazelnut, and now you can enjoy it in oil form as well. Hazelnut oil is a refreshingly unique cooking oil that’s gaining popularity among foodies and home cooks alike. It’s made from the kernel of the South American hazelnut, or Corylus Avellana, species, and it’s high in both essential fatty acids and medicinally beneficial properties. Let’s take a look at what makes hazelnut oil a great choice for your next meal.
Hazelnut oil has a light, nutty flavor profile. This makes it a good choice for dishes that call for a slightly sweet, nutty flavor. It’s often used as a replacement for butter in baking and other dishes and can be used in place of olive oil in salads and sauces. Hazelnut oil is also great for sautéing vegetables or adding a unique and delicious flavor to roasted meats.
Aside from its unique and delicious taste, hazelnut oil comes with some impressive nutritional benefits. It’s high in both monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids, including oleic acid and linoleic acid, so it helps to reduce bad cholesterol and promote better heart health. Its high fatty acid content also helps to build strong cell membranes, boost immunity, and improve digestive health.
Hazelnuts are packed with vitamins and minerals as well, making hazelnut oil a smart choice for those looking for a nutritional boost. It’s rich in vitamins E, B1, and B3, as well as magnesium, potassium, and manganese, which helps improve bone and nerve health. Hazelnut oil is also a good source of iron, zinc, calcium, and phosphorus. All of these nutrients are essential for everyday health and can’t always be found in other cooking oils.
Perhaps one of the most impressive benefits that come from consuming hazelnut oil is the presence of several antioxidants. The antioxidants present in hazelnut oil help to protect the body from damage caused by free radicals and toxins. These antioxidants include Vitamin E, which helps to protect the skin from premature aging, and phytosterols, which have anti-inflammatory properties and may help protect against various forms of cancer.
The above properties make hazelnut oil an excellent option when looking for an oil with a unique flavor and nutritional benefits. It’s perfect for those who are looking to add a unique twist to their cooking while still enjoying the benefits of a healthy oil. However, hazelnut oil does come with some caveats. Since it’s a light oil, it has a low smoke point, meaning that it tends to burn easily when heated. This means that it’s best used in dishes that require a lower cooking temperature or as a finishing oil for flavor.
When purchasing hazelnut oil, it’s important to choose a quality brand. Not all brands are created equal, and some may contain additives or chemicals that can diminish its overall health benefits. It’s best to opt for organic, cold-pressed hazelnut oil as these tend to contain the highest levels of nutritional value.
Hazelnut oil has quickly become a favorite in many kitchens. It provides a delicious, nutty flavor and is loaded with vital nutrients and antioxidants that can benefit your overall health. Whether you’re looking for a tasty addition to your salads, a healthier alternative to butter, or a nutritious cooking oil for sautéing, look no further than hazelnut oil.
Hazelnut oil, otherwise known as Corylus Avellana Oil, is a versatile cooking oil derived from pressing roasted hazelnuts. This nut-based oil is a popular cooking staple in Europe and around the world, especially in Mediterranean and Asian cuisines. It is gaining in popularity due to its unique flavor, high nutritional content and decent smoke point (approx. 216 °C/ 420 °F).
The popularity of hazelnut oil can be attributed to the fact it’s one of the few edible oils to contain high levels of Vitamin E, which is known for its antioxidant, anti-inflammatory and skin-health benefits. It is also rich in essential fatty acids, such as linoleic acid, that support healthy cell membranes, making it a popular beauty product.
Hazelnuts grow in temperate climates and require specialized processing to be made into oil safely and legally. It is an involved process, but the result makes it one of the most sought after cooking oils available.
Harvesting and Hulling Hazelnuts
Hazelnuts are ready to be harvested when the shells start to turn brown and fall from the tree. The harvesting process begins with shaking the trees so that the nuts fall to the ground, where they are collected by hand. Once collected, the nuts are usually spread out on racks to dry.
The next step is to remove the hulls, which is done by picking away the outer protective covering. This must be done slowly and carefully by hand so that the nuts are not damaged.
The yield of hazelnuts from an individual tree is relatively low as all parts of the nut must be collected, leaving some parts to go to waste. In order to get enough from the tree, harvesters tend to collect the whole hazelnut fruit and remove the moldy ones later in the process. The process of hulling is labor intensive, but the high quality of the finished product makes it worth the effort for many dedicated processors.
Sorting and Roasting Hazelnuts
Once the hazelnuts have been hulled, they must be sorted and roasting. During the sorting process, all imperfect or moldy nuts must be removed. Hazlenut farmers and processors typically use a combination of hand sorting, machines and x-ray scanners to remove the damaged nuts, which is followed by roasting to further remove any remaining pieces.
Roasting hazelnuts improves the flavor and increases the amount of oil extracted during pressing. The roasting process usually occurs inside an oven or large drying chamber, and temperatures typically range from 120 - 140°C depending on the desired level of roast.
The roasting process must be monitored closely to ensure that the product does not become burnt. If the hazelnuts are overdone, the oil becomes harsh in flavor and it is not suitable for culinary applications. If the hazelnuts are underdone, the oil will have a grassy or bitter flavor and it will not contain the desired levels of antioxidants, polyunsaturated and monounsaturated fatty acids.
Pressing and Filtering Hazelnut Oil
Once the hazelnuts have been properly roasted, they are ready to be pressed. Hazelnut pressers typically use stone or hammer mills in order to extract the maximum amount of oil. The resulting oil and hazelnut meal is then separated through a filtration process.
The filtered oil is usually stored in wooden barrels and may be left to settle before being bottled. Finally, the oil is packaged, labeled and shipped to food service distributors and retailers.
Quality Control and Regulation of Hazelnut Oil
The production of quality hazelnut oil is highly regulated by both domestic and international guidelines. Before the oil leaves the manufacturing plant, it must pass strict standards for quality and purity.
These standards vary from country to country, but generally include tests for contaminants such as aflatoxins, fatty acid composition, sensory quality, color, taste and aroma.
How Hazelnut Oil Gets to Your Plate
Once the hazelnut oil is bottled and ready for sale, it will be shipped to food service distributors or retail outlets. From there, it can make its way to your dinner plate in a variety of ways.
For those who enjoy cooking with hazelnut oil, the oil can be found on many grocery store shelves. It can also be purchased online from specialty shops or directly from the producer. Eating out? You may find a dish prepared with hazelnut oil on the menu of many fine dining restaurants.
The bold and nutty flavor of hazelnut oil makes it a great addition to sauces, dressings and marinades. It’s also excellent for roasting vegetables and sautéing meats. Take advantage of its high smoke point and use it for searing and roasting as well.
Hazelnut oil is versatile and can also be used to dip bread; drizzle over salads, pasta dishes and desserts; or simply to add a nutty complexity to any dish. Add a few drops to a mug of hot chocolate for an extra dose of delight.
The Bottom Line
From harvest to dinner plate, hazelnut oil is a delicious and nutritious cooking oil with a lot of potential in the field of culinary arts. Its distinctive flavor and health benefits make it a great choice for cooks and wellness enthusiasts alike. Whether you’re using it to sauté, roast or simply to dip bread, hazelnut oil is versatile and can go a long way in adding flavor and nutrition to your meals.
|Vitamin E||0.0472 grams|
|Total Sugars||0 ug||
|Myristic acid (14:0)||0.1 grams||
|Palmitic acid (16:0)||5.2 grams||
|Stearic acid (18:0)||2. grams||
|Total Saturated fatty acids:||7.3 g|
|Oleic acid (18:1)||77.8 grams||
|Palmitoleic acid (16:1)||0.2 grams||
|Total Monounsaturated fatty acids:||78 g|
|Linoleic acid (18:2)||10.1 grams||
|Total Polyunsaturated fatty acids:||10.1 g|
|Total Sterols:||0.12 g|