Brazil Nuts & Hazelnuts 101

April 15, 2013

Looking to add some variety to your nut and seed selection? Try Brazil and hazelnuts! Find out the basics here

What are Brazil Nuts and Hazelnuts?
Two minor nuts sold primarily in the shell during autumn, as well as shelled year round; high in fiber and antioxidants. Both can cost more than other nuts.

How to Buy: 
Hazelnuts are small, round coppery-colored with a pale crown and a cousin of the filbert, usually sold ground into a powder for breads and pastries. Brazil nuts are large, curved nuts in a pebbled rough brown shell. Look for those without blemishes or cracks that feel heavy for their size. Both are also available shelled. Brazil nuts (Bertholletia excelsa) grow only along the Amazon and Orinoco rivers in Brazil and in northern Bolivia.  American hazelnuts (C. americana and C. cornuta) are grown in Washington and Oregon, and British Columbia.
How to Use:
Eat alone as a snack or mix together with other nuts and raisins for a trail mix; can also use in baked goods.
Health Benefits:  
Both have antioxidants, fiber, and protein. Brazil nuts have copper, niacin, magnesium, fiber, Vitamin E, and 2,500 times the selenium as any other nut. While selenium helps fight heart disease, prostate and breast cancer and other diseases, too much can cause stomach upset, hair and nail loss, irritability, fatigue. 1 Brazil nut a day provides 554mcg or 160% of the RDA; 1 serving, 8 nuts, has 200 calories. 
Hazelnuts have Vitamins A, E, K; as well as B vitamins, folate, choline, and arginine (an amino acid that relaxes blood vessels). Very low saturated fats, good sources of mono and polyunsaturated fats. 1 oz. (21 whole kernels) has 178 calories.
Smarter Shopping:
Hazelnut shells do not compost easily, so use them for landscaping instead of grass or gravel; they also burn at a high temperature, so they can be used in fireplaces as logs.
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