Wednesday, April 4, 2012

Did You Know . . . ? 

→  Hazelnuts, or filberts, are the fifth most popular tree nut crop in the world behind cashews, almonds, walnuts and chestnuts. 

→  Commercial production is restricted to areas with climates moderated by large bodies of water. The Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium is working to produce cold-hardy, heat-tolerant hybrids, which will expand the growing area.

→  The U.S. produces about 4% of the world crop behind Turkey (70%) and Italy (18%). 

→  99% of the U.S. crop is grown in Oregon's Willamette Valley. 

→  Hazelnuts naturally grow as a large bush, but are pruned to a single trunk in the U.S. to facilitate mechanical harvesting.

→  Hazelnuts are sold in the shell (5-10% of the world crop) or as kernels, and are used in candies and other products, like Nutella, a blend of chocolate and hazelnut.

→  Nutella was created in the 1940s by Pietro Ferrero, a pastry maker in Italy, where cocoa was in short supply due to World War II rationing. Ferrero Inc. also produces Ferrero Roche and other confections. 

→  Ferrero also makes Tic Tacs. 

→  A 2007 study showed that hazelnut shells and leaves contain taxanes, which are used to produce Taxol, a cancer-fighting drug.

→  The Hybrid Hazelnut Consortium is looking at other uses for hazelnut byproducts as well, including using shells for high-protein animal feed and oil for biofuel. Our analysis shows that hazelnuts can produce twice the amount of oil per acre as soybeans.

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