Origin and History
Hazelnuts have been around for more than 4,500 years. According to biblical legend, Adam and Eve created animals using the power contained in a hazel rod that was given to them by God. A manuscript found in China that dates to 2,838 B.C. mentions hazelnuts as one of the “five sacred nourishments” bestowed by God on humans. In Roman legend, the god Mercury carried a staff made of a filbert tree. And a forked stick of the hazel tree is thought to be an effective divining rod in the semi-magical practice of dowsing (searching for water).
Almost 2,000 years ago, the Greek physician Dioscorides thought that hazelnuts cured baldness as well as the common cold. Other cultures used mashed filberts to take away the pain of scorpion bites. Still others used them as a blood purifier or to cure stomach aches. The nut has also been known as the Cobb nut, the Spanish nut, the Pontic nut and the Lombard, as well as the filbert. The term “filbert” is thought to have originated from the Old English term for “full beard,” in reference to the nut’s outer husk.
Hazelnuts are high in fiber and vitamins and minerals such as calcium, potassium, magnesium and vitamin E. Like many other nuts, they are also rich in proteins and monounsaturated fats.