Ah, the yellow male catkins of one of my favorites, the hazel nut is looking robust and, well, sexy, and why not: winter is the summer of love for hazels.
The hazelnut is unique in that it blooms and pollinates in the middle of winter. Wind carries the pollen from yellow catkins to a tiny red flower, where it stays dormant until June, when the nut begins to form.
This hazelnut was found along the back — the uncivilized side — shore of Frances Slocum which is hazelnut central. Some places along the shore are hundreds of yards of nothing but hazel.
Even so, you have to hustle to get a couple of nuts in the fall before the beasties, who just love, love, love them (as I do).
Some more hazel facts so maybe a few others will learn to love these guys like I do.
•Turkey is the largest producer of hazelnuts in the world with approximately 75% of worldwide production.
•The hazelnut became Oregon’s official State Nut in 1989.
•June 1st is National Hazelnut Cake Day.
•Hazelnut oil, which is not excessively greasy and slightly sweet, can be used for food preparation and cosmetic purposes.
•Is it a Filbert or a Hazelnut? There’s truly no wrong answer. Filbert is the correct name for both the tree and nut. The name is of French origin, and filbert trees were likely first introduced into Oregon by early French settlers. Some thought filbert was derived from St. Philibert, as August 22 is dedicated to him, corresponding to the earliest ripening date of filberts in England.
•Hazelnut is the name coined by the English and applied to the native species by early settlers. In 1981, the Oregon Filbert Commission decided to conform to the common standard and began emphasizing “hazelnut.”
•Hazelnut trees can produce until over 80 years of age.
•In Ancient Rome, it was customary to offer a hazelnut plant, the Corylus avellana, in the belief that it brought happiness. In the French tradition, on the other hand, this plant symbolizes fertility.
•In Germanic countries, hazelnuts are widely used in the form of flour for preparing cakes. The most famous of these is Linzer Torte, a pastry torte with a redcurrant jam filling