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Associated Press

Hazel nuts can be substituted for virtually any other nut specified in a recipe.

- Roasting hazelnuts increases their flavor and improves texture.

- Hazelnuts are available "natural" (shelled and unroasted, sometimes diced or sliced) or roasted. "Natural" kernels have the longest shelf life.

- Professionals say cleaned "natural" nuts are a great time saver and definitely worth the money. After that, it is easy to roast them.

- To roast natural hazelnuts, spread whole kernels in a single layer on a baking sheet and bake at 275 F. for 15 to 20 minutes. To remove skins, briskly rub with a rough cloth while nuts are still warm.

- Store hazelnuts in a tightly sealed container in the refrigerator or freezer to maintain the highest quality of flavor and texture.

Allow hazelnuts to warm to room temperature in unopened containers before using to prevent mold and rancidity.

- Refrigerated hazelnuts can be kept for up to one year; frozen hazelnuts can be kept for up to two years.

- Oregonians call hazelnuts filberts. Some people believe the name originally referred to Aug. 22, the feast day of Saint Philibert, the day the nuts were first harvested in England. Another theory suggests filbert may be a corruption of the words "full beard," referring to the long, draped leaves that cover the shell.

- Domestic hazelnuts grow larger but Turkish nuts are easier to skin after blanching.

Copyright © 2003 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.

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