International hazelnut quality characteristics

Niels Maness – Department of Horticulture, Oklahoma State University

HGA newsletter, June 2006

Quality Characteristics and Criteria

In-shell hazelnuts should be properly sized to meet the stated market type and should be properly filled with at least 50% of the shell cavity occupied by nutmeat. Shells should be free of cracks and noticeable mechanical injury, clean, brightly colored and coloring patterns should be characteristic of the stated variety. The pellicle should be smooth and devoid of husk attachments. Kernels should meet the stated market type, be free of any misshapen or underdeveloped kernels and be free of any shell or foreign material and off-odor, off-flavor or mold. Water content of kernels should not exceed 6% if shelled or 7% if in-shell, and the total water content of unshelled nuts should not exceed 10 to 12%. Size is specified with grade as a determinant of quality, and minimum sizes are used for specification of classes “Extra” and “Class I” in international trade. For in-shell markets, larger and particularly rounded types are preferred. Shelled markets accommodate both rounded and oblong types, and size preference is dependent on the intended end use. 

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Hazelnut product design

By Laura Brandt – Contributing Editor to ‘Food Product Design’ magazine

HGA newsletter, June 2004

Industry sources indicate that approximately 8% of the new products introduced over the last two years contain some type of nut. Besides adding visual appeal, nuts contribute texture and crunch, and their unique flavour profiles enhance many foods. As part of a well-balanced diet, nuts provide protein, minerals, vitamin E, fibre, unsaturated fatty acids and phyto-chemicals. The nutritional benefits include reduction of heart disease and certain cancers.

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Off to the market

HGA newsletter, August 2003

We’ve spent all year fertilizing, mowing, pruning, worrying, planning, pollinating, spraying, raking, rolling, harvesting, cleaning….a lot of organised work to get those little nuts into those sacks. It’s easy to think that this is the end of the line and look only to next season’s production. There is one other job that is at least as important as all of the production work put together…..and that’s MARKETING.

As hazelnut producers we have several options open to us for the disposal of our nuts once they have been harvested and all of those options involve planned marketing. We can sell to a processing company as a commodity, or sell to an agent, or we can package and sell our nuts directly to the public either in shell or, with a bit of work, as kernels. Or we can develop a range of products to sell or a combination of any of the above options. Our marketing can be as complex or as simple as we make it but we always have the choice as to how much control we have over our products. 

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