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  • Spain: Galicia studying hazelnut cultivation

    Dec 9th, 2015

    In addition to Nutella and other chocolate spreads, hazelnuts are an ingredient for numerous products.

    Hazelnut trees, which are native to Asia Minor, spread firstly across the Mediterranean and then to the rest of the world. Turkey is the major producer, accounting for almost three quarters of the world's hazelnuts. Italy is the second largest producer in Europe and Spain dances between the third and fourth position, depending on how the harvest comes.The growing demand for nuts, especially in Europe and the United States, given their nutritional qualities, has made hazelnuts a very interesting crop, preferred because of its high profitability. The trend has arrived to Galicia and there are already experimental plantations in A Estrada studying whether the climate and different soils in Galicia are suitable for the cultivation of this profitable crop.Hazels are present in many gardens and private orchards in Galicia, but there is no extensive cultivation. The tree is rustic, withstands humid weather conditions, prefers permeable soils and tolerates cold winters, even though late frosts can spoil the flowering and damage the production for the next harvest.Chestnut and walnut trees, which produce an annual harvest of fruits in great demand, while ensuring the supply of highly prized wood by the furniture industry, are already a part of the Galician landscape. Almonds, pistachios and hazelnuts are arriving in a second wave in view of the high prices that these nuts are reaching in the international markets and how easy it is to find buyers.

    Extremely healthy

    Just like almonds and walnuts, hazelnuts are considered extremely healthy; their high content of vitamin E and other nutrients make them an ideal nut to be consumed on a daily basis. It is worth noting, however that they must be consumed in small amounts, since 60 percent of their composition is fat, supplying an average of 675 calories per hundred grams.