The Filbert (aka the hazelnut) is Oregon’s nut. Well, sort of. Ninety-eight percent of the hazelnuts/filberts/cob nuts grown in the United States are grown in Oregon; however, from a global perspective, most of these nuts are grown in Europe and the Middle East (Turkey and Italy, for example).
The term Filbert surprised me at first when I heard it as a young college student studying in the Willamette Valley. Upon hearing the term for the first time, I thought I was being introduced to a unique and new nut, of the likes I had never heard of before. Well, technically, I hadn’t “heard” of it before, but I had enjoyed and knew of the hazelnut. It is the same nut; however, when you are in the valley from where it is primarily produced, the proper name is “Filbert”.
But where did the term “filbert” come from? It is thought to be correlated with the Catholic celebration of France’s St. Philbert which is held on August 20, which also happens to coincidentially be the same time hazelnuts are harvested, thus, as people were nibbling on their hazelnuts, the term “filberts” became their nickname, so to speak. Because of that coincidence, in Europe, where hazelnuts are widely eaten, the nuts are known as filberts as well.
And of course, there is Nutella. Ubiquitously found in France, the luscious peanut, chocolate spread is made with none other than Filberts! Or Hazelnuts! Your choice, either way, they are a decadent, buttery, crunchy treat and roasting them makes them all the more delicious, especially with this “secret recipe”. Why is it secret, you may be wondering?
After coming across crates of filberts at a local farmers market two weekends ago in Eugene, I also ran into a gentleman who shared with me his “secret recipe” for roasting them. Of course, I commented that if he shared it with me, it may not be secret anymore, and after his wife approached and asked if he had indeed given away his “secret recipe”, it was clear, I was not the only lucky one to learn of it. So, with any guilt assuaged, I took note mentally, and then quickly proceeded to write it down when I found a pen and paper. Upon arriving home with my bag of yet to be cracked and shelled filberts, I went about cracking them and followed the recipe.
Ideal for snacking or a nibble to make available to guests while they mingle at your next soiree, the next time you come across a bag of filberts, go ahead and treat yourself.