Filbert – Harvesting, Production, Cultivation, Variety, Health Benefits and Uses

Filberts are edible nuts that are cultivated in many parts of the world. They are also popularly known as hazelnut and cob nuts on the basis of the species to which they belong. This nut is approximately 1.5 -2.5 cm long and grows in bunches of one to five each. Filberts are distinguishable from its other species since they are enveloped in 3-5 cm long tube like husk.
The filbert plant is a deciduous shrub which happens to be about 10 to 6 meters tall.

It is the core of the seed that is the edible part. These nuts are eaten raw, roasted or sometimes even crunched to a paste. Filberts are also used as healthy livestock feed. The hazelnut oil derived from filberts is extensively used as cooking oil.

Filbert Nuts Picture
Picture 1 – Filbert Nuts
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This particular species of hazel happens to be native to the regions of southeastern Europe, southwestern Asia and Turkey.

These nuts, rich in vitamins and minerals are extremely good for health.

Scientific Name of Filbert

The scientific name of filbert species is Corylus maxima.

Filberts vs Hazelnuts

Filberts and hazelnuts are basically different names that have been attributed to the same nut on the basis of the region to which they belong. The nuts belonging to the Corylus family, regional to the north-west United States have acquired the term hazelnuts. Meanwhile the term filbert implies to the nuts of the same Corylus family that are regional to the Mediterranean areas.

Most chocolates and coffees are hazelnut flavored. On the other hand shelled filberts usually appear in nut mixes that are a hit during the holiday seasons, especially Thanksgiving.

hard shelled filbert nuts
Picture 2 – Shelled Filbert Nuts

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Filberts Production

Estimated reports have shown Turkey to be the largest producer of filbert nuts. Turkey’s contribution is almost 75% in the overall hazelnut production in the world.
In US, however the two states of Oregon and Washington produce filberts in commercial quantities. Oregon filbert growers are home to the Willamette Valley. However the European filbert hazelnut is by far the most expensive and valuable of all the varieties throughout the world.

Filbert Harvesting

Mid autumn is generally selected as the most appropriate period to harvest filbert nuts. You will find that by late autumn the filbert tree begins to shed its leaves and nuts.

The process of commercial harvesting cannot be completed without a sweeper, nut cart, harvester and the forklift. All these equipments perform important functions in commercial harvesting.

The function of the sweeper is to move and arrange the nuts in the centre of a row. Twigs, leaves and any sort of junk are separated from the nuts by the harvester. The nuts that are selected by the harvester are held by the nut cart before the nuts are stacked into the carryalls by the forklift. Once the nuts get collected in the totes, they are shipped to the nut dryer or processor.

It is very important for the equipment operators to wear some sort of breathing protection as a precaution against the dusty orchards.

Filbert Nut Tree

Picture 3 – Filbert Plants

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Filbert Cultivation

The deciduous filbert shrubs flowers in early spring. By late winter it produces the wind pollinated catkins. The male catkin or pollen is observed to be pale yellow in color, while the female pollen is bright red.

In order to make it possible for the tree to bear fruit, it is necessary to plant two or more filbert trees next to each other. The winter winds bring about the cross pollination of the flowers of the filbert tree.

Here are some factors for you to keep in mind recommended for the filbert tree care.

  • A pH level of 6 to 7 is ideal for the soil used for the plantation of the filbert tree. Make sure that the soil is well drained.
  • Water is highly essential for the growth of the filbert tree.
  • These deep rooted and shade tolerant trees require full sun to yield filbert nuts.

Filbert Tree Varieties

Enumerated below are the different varieties of regional filbert trees.

European Filbert Hazelnut Tree

This particular variety is generally found in Europe and western Asia. The European hazel is identified as a small tree or shrub of 12 to 15 feet in height. It has oval shaped, dark green leaves. The tree bears nuts which are approximately 3/4 inches long.

American Filbert Hazelnut Tree

The American hazel is also a shrub, about 12 feet tall. Oval leaves that have a darker shade of green on top compared to beneath are characteristic of this variety. The cold-hardy American filbert is accustomed to grow in shade. It bears nuts that are thick shelled and comparatively small; only 1/2 inches in diameter.

american breed of hazelnuts

Picture 4 – American Filbert Halenuts

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Beaked Filbert Hazelnut Tree

This particular variety is distinctive for its height and can grow up to 12 to 24 feet tall. Similarly like its cousin the American hazel, beaked hazel too is cold hardy, meaning it can withstand shades. You will find that the leaves of the beaked hazel tree are rounded and beaked shaped towards the tip.

Filbert Hybrids

Hybridized filberts are a combination of the disease resistance indigenous hazelnuts and the large and supreme quality European hazels. The filbert blight resiatant, Santium hybrid is one of the first hybrids of the University of Oregon.

Filbert Nut Recipes

Food lovers are bound to devour the delicious filbert nut recipes. The variety of food items that can be prepared using filbert nuts will actually surprise you!

Chocolate Hazelnut Tart

Anyone would love this tart with the rich flavour of chocolate and hazelnuts. The preparation maybe a little time consuming but the heavenly taste is surely worth the time!

Cream Filbert

Cream filberts also called mothballs are delicious cookies that are finished with a hint of glaze and granulated sugar. You can try this smart and simple recipe which hardly requires 35 minutes of preparation time.

Figs With Honey and Whiskey

If you are looking for a recipe that is completely out of the box, figs with honey and whiskey is got to be your choice! It comprises of baked figs with a dash of honey perfectly complimenting Scotch whiskey.

Turkey Filbert Casserole

Here is a perfect recipe for you to try out this holiday season. The turkey dressed with filbert, pasta and mushrooms are not only easy to prepare but is also a sheer perfection of flavour.

Filbert Cake

Treat your taste buds with the refined and delicious flavour of the filbert cake.

filbert cake preparation

Picture 5 – Filbert Cake

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Nut Crusted Pork Tenderloin

This pork dish coated with filbert nuts is usually served with sweet red peppers and mango sauce. Imagine the flavour!

Wild Rice With Cherries and Hazelnut

Hazelnuts are a great combination with wild rice too! This rich breakfast recipe is a must – try for all.

Hungarian Crepes with Hazelnuts

A Hungarian crepe with hazelnuts is the yummiest chocolate sauce by far!

Apart from these mouth watering recipes there are hundreds of other recipes that can be prepared using filberts.

Remember that hazelnut oil tends to lose its flavour when subjected to high heat. As such you are recommended whip it during the last minute after you have removed the dish from the heat.

Filbert Nut Health Benefits

Filbert nuts comprise a rich diet and are vital for our well being and health.

  • Filbert nuts containing oleic and linoleic acid, help to bring down bad cholesterol or LDL and increase good cholesterol or HDL. These monosaturated and essential fatty acids are extremely good for health. Research has shown that monosaturated fatty acids also help to keep strokes and coronary artery diseases at bay.
  • Filbert nuts are packed with dietary fiber, minerals and vitamins that give strength to our body to combat against various cancers and diseases.
  • These nuts are rich in vitamin E. This particular vitamin protects the skin from those harmful oxygen free radicals and acts as a strong lipid soluble antioxidant.
  • Expectant mothers are suggested to stick to a healthy diet consisting of filbert nuts. Filbert nuts are a great source of folate that is a rarity among other nut nutrients. This vitamin is essential in the prevention of neural tube defects inside the fetus. Folate also combats nucleic acid synthesis and megaloblastic anemia
  • The gluten free filbert nuts end up being a safe option for gluten sensitive people suffering from celiac disease and wheat allergies. Now everyone can enjoy the mouth watering gluten free food recipes.
  • Filberts nuts are full of B- complex vitamins like niacin, panthonenic acid, pyridoxine (vitamin B-6), riboflavin and thiamin.
  • Filbert nuts comprise of various minerals that are vital for good health. These minerals include manganese, selenium copper, potassium, iron, zinc, magnesium and calcium.
  • The aromatic hazelnut oil acts as an excellent astringent, protecting your skin from dryness. This oil is popular in spa and message therapies owing to its splendid aroma and soothing properties. Hazelnut oil is extensively used in the cosmetic industry.

Uses Of  Filbert

Ediblity Of Filbert Nuts

The filbert nut is eaten and loved by people all over the world.

Filbert Nuts As Fillers

The size of the filbert nut compliments its primary use as filler amongst other nuts stored in containers. Such containers and boxes are a popular favorite during Thanksgiving.

Ornamental Function Of  The Filbert Plant

A particular species of filbert plant known as Corylus maxima ‘Purpurea’ is often grown in small gardens as a ornamental shrub due to its pretty purple leaves.

Filbert Shell and Leaves As Medication For Cancer

According to recent scientific researches the leaves and shells of the filbert plant contain taxanes, paclitaxel, baccatin III, paclitaxel C , 10 – deacetylbaccatin III and 7-epipaclitaxel. All these components are used in production of cancer chemotherapy drugs.

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