commercial hazelnut processing

Commercial Hazelnut Processing – Products, Processes, Equipment

Commercial hazelnut processing is a complex process that involves several different steps and pieces of equipment. What are hazelnuts?

Hazelnuts are just another type of nut. It is native to the northern hemisphere. They are most commonly found in Europe, Asia, and North America.

Hazelnuts are a popular ingredient in many foods, including chocolate, ice cream, and pastries. You can also use hazelnuts to make hazelnut oil, which is used in cooking and cosmetics.

You can process hazelnuts into many different products, including hazelnut butter, hazelnut flour, and hazelnut milk.

Introduction

Hazelnuts are a popular snack and ingredient in many different types of food. They are also used to make oils, butter, and other fat types used in cooking.

commercial hazelnut processing

The harvesting, roasting, and processing of hazelnuts are complex processes that require skill and attention to detail.

How Do You Preserve Hazelnuts?

  • Hazelnut drying
  • Roasting hazelnuts
  • Grinding hazelnuts
  • Hazelnut flour
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Hazelnut oil

Commercial Hazelnut Processing Steps

Hazelnuts are a relatively easy culture to harvest and process. Moreover, the high demand for hazelnuts has enabled commercial operations to thrive.

Commercial hazelnut processing usually comprises the following steps:

Harvesting (by hand or vacuum harvesters);

  • De-husking
  • Sorting, cleaning
  • De-shelling (cracking)
  • Making oil, pasta, and other products from hazelnuts (optional)

General Uses For Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are used in many different types of food products. They are popular ingredients in baked goods, desserts, and ice cream.

You can also use hazelnuts in savory dishes, such as stews and sauces.

Hazelnuts are also used to make oils, jars of butter, and other types of fats used in cooking, baked food, and desserts. Hazelnuts have a very high oil content and can be an excellent ingredient for cooking oils.

You can use these oils for both cooking and for making salad dressings. 

Hazelnuts are also used to make nut milk, a popular dairy substitute.

Harvesting Hazelnuts

Hazelnuts are harvested from the end of August until the end of October.

The hazelnut trees or bushes are usually grown in large orchards where farmers can properly manage them. Each orchard is planted with a single variety of hazelnut trees.

commercial hazelnut processing

The trees are typically spaced between 8 and 15 feet apart. This helps to prevent the spread of disease and insect pests. 

Once the hazelnut trees have reached maturity, the harvesting of the nuts can begin. Harvesting hazelnuts from the orchard is a simple process that is not so simple to do!

The hazelnut trees must be shaken to loosen the nuts from the branches. You can do this either by hand or with a shaking machine that is usually towed behind a tractor.

The shaking machine uses a series of rotating bars, paddles, and brushes to remove the nuts from the branches physically.

Hazelnut Drying Process

Dehydrating is one of the most common post-harvest treatments of fruits and vegetables, which enables long-term preservation and improved quality of these commodities.

Drying is the technological process of removing water from a material.

In commercial-scale facilities, hazelnuts are packed in large drums and dried in an air-conditioned warehouse. The temperature is maintained at around 95°F (35°C). The drums are turned often to ensure even drying.

The process takes about 10–15 days. After drying, the hazelnuts are packed in large paper sacks to preserve freshness. 

In general, the aim of drying can be to evaporate water from a product to allow for storage in a condensed form, facilitate transportation, reduce microbial contamination, or produce a material with the desired texture.

The process of drying fruits, vegetables, and hazelnuts is often combined with sorting and grading for quality.

Sorting and grading aim to reduce the amount of poor-quality products. Poor-quality produce can be anything from being too small, too large, or in bad shape to being stained or over-ripe.

If you are drying your hazelnuts, you will want to ensure that they are completely dried out before putting them into long-term storage.

You can tell that your hazelnuts are dried when they are completely hard, with no flexibility left in them.

Hazelnuts, like most nuts, have a high-fat content, and if they are not dried out completely, they will go bad quickly. When you buy hazelnuts, they will most likely be vacuum packed or in a container with a desiccant to keep them from going bad.

Vacuum-packed hazelnuts usually have a “musty” smell, which is a sign that they are not dried out completely.

Removing the Shells For Commercial Hazelnut Processing

Hazelnuts are shelled before they can be eaten or used for further processing. 

For commercial hazelnut processing, you must acquire an industrial shell cracker. It is a relatively simple machine transporting the nuts through the narrow gap.

commercial hazelnut processing

If any unbroken hazelnuts are left, they must be screened and poured into the machine again. The machine operator must adjust the crusher gap accordingly before the shell is broken again. 

If needed, the de-shelled nuts are passed through a mechanical sheller that uses an abrasive spinning brush to remove the skins. The skins are transported away from the nuts by a flow of air. The skins are then dried and used in paints and other coatings.

Are Hazelnut Shells Good For Anything?

Empty hazelnut shells can be used in many ways. They can be dried, ground up, and used as compost or mulch.

They can also be used as a natural scrub for exfoliating your skin. You can also compost hazelnut shells or use them as a soil amendment to add nutrients back into your soil.

Compost

To make hazelnut shells compost, spread the shells out on a drying rack or a clothesline to let them dry out. Alternatively, you can put them in a pot of water and let them soak for a few days, then drain and spread them out to dry.

Once the shells are dry, you can use them as compost or a soil amendment. They are rich in carbon and have valuable nutrients.

You can use hazelnut shells to ensure your garden has the right pH level. The shells will soak up any excess alkaline water, which can harm your plants.

They are entirely safe for your garden and help improve your soil’s overall health. You can also use hazelnut shells as mulch around your trees, shrubs, and flowers to keep the soil moist, prevent pests, and give your plants a nutrient boost.

Natural Livestock Bedding

Hazlenut shells can also be used as natural livestock bedding. They are soft enough for animals to lay on and have anti-bacterial properties. You can also use hazelnut shells in your compost. 

Roasting Hazelnuts (At Industrial Scale Or Home)

At An Industrial Scale

To start with, hazelnuts should be fresh. The fresher they are, the less time it will take to roast them, and the better aroma you will finally get.

Industrial hazelnut roasting requires specialized machinery. It is a relatively simple piece of equipment having an input device, heating element, electric fan for hot air circulation, and control cabinet.

The nuts are placed in large rotating drums heated with the said heating element powered by electricity or gas. The drums’ heat and rotating motion help roast the nuts. The roasted nuts are then cooled, bagged for sale, or used for other purposes.

As a machine operator, you must control the blowing rate and set the temperature of the heated product by regulating the running speed to ensure the best roasting effect.

At Home

The process is similar to roasting other nuts if you have ever wondered how to roast hazelnuts at home. Start by sorting the hazelnuts to remove any that are discolored or damaged.

Then spread them in a single layer on a baking sheet and place them in an oven preheated to 325°F (160°C). Roasting happens much more quickly when the nuts are in closer contact. You also want to ensure you don’t have them too close together, or they will steam instead of roast.

After about 10 minutes, open the oven and toss the hazelnuts once or twice to ensure even roasting. Roast the hazelnuts for about 15–20 minutes or until their skins crack.

When the hazelnuts are done, remove them from the oven and allow them to cool for about 10 minutes. Alternatively, you can place the roasted hazelnuts in a paper bag and allow them to cool completely before storing them in an airtight glass jar or container.

You can also roast hazelnuts in a pan on the stovetop for about 5–7 minutes on medium heat.

Hazelnuts are ready to eat when they are slightly brown on the outside and give off a toasted aroma. The best way to tell if they are done is to try one. It is best to let the hazelnuts cool to room temperature before eating them. You can also store roasted hazelnuts in the freezer to extend their lifespan.

Roasting helps to remove the shells and to activate the natural oils. Roasted hazelnuts can then be ground and used in several different food products, including baked goods and ice cream, or even ground into a paste.

Industrial Grinding Hazelnuts Into a Paste

Once the hazelnuts have been shelled and roasted, they can be ground into a paste.

This is done with a large mechanical grinding machine equipped with rotating steel or stone wheels. The grinding machine can produce up to 2 tonnes of ground hazelnuts per hour.

The grinding machine is designed for grinding the nuts into a fine paste almost indistinguishable from butter.

The ground hazelnuts are then transferred to large stainless steel tanks and mixed with salt or other preservatives. This process helps to control the growth of bacteria and extend the shelf life of the ground hazelnuts.

Hazelnut Flour

Commercial hazelnut processing lets you grind hazelnuts into fine flour used in baked goods.

To create the flour, the ground hazelnuts are sifted to remove any pieces that are larger than a fine powder.

The ground hazelnuts are usually filtered in a large mechanical separator that uses air pressure to push the flour through a fine mesh.

The flour can then be sold in large bags for the wholesalers or packed in smaller jars for retail shops.

Hazelnut Milk

You can grind hazelnuts with water to create hazelnut milk, which is a popular dairy substitute.

The ground hazelnuts are mixed with water and then heated in large bowls. After that, the mixture is sifted to remove any remaining large pieces of hazelnuts.

Ground hazelnut milk is often enhanced with vitamins and minerals. It can then be packaged and sold in large jars and bottles.

Hazelnut Oil

Harvesting the nuts when they are still green is recommended, as this will produce the best results. The green nuts can then be dried and pressed to make the oil.

At commercial hazelnut processing, you can do this by buying a professional press. There are a few different technological ways you can do this, but the most common way is to use a press or another machine created to extract oils.

As mentioned, it is recommended to do this early fall when the nuts are still green. Hazelnut oil is a popular item in supermarkets and health food stores.

Can you eat hazelnuts straight from the tree?

The answer to this question is simple and straightforward – yes. Hazelnuts, which grow on trees, are edible right off the tree.

They are tasty and nutritious snacks that are easy to access and can be enjoyed immediately.

While you can eat hazelnuts directly off the tree, to some people, they taste a bit better roasted, and we recommend that you roast them before eating them.

Conclusion

Hazelnuts are a type of nut that is native to the northern hemisphere. They are most commonly found in Europe, some parts of Asia, and North America.

Hazelnuts are a popular snack and ingredient in many different types of dishes. They are also used to make oils, butter, and other fat types used in cooking and cosmetics.

The harvesting and processing of hazelnuts is a relatively simple process; however, it requires some skill and practice.

By doing commercial hazelnut processing, you can get products such as:

  • Dried hazelnuts
  • Roasted hazelnuts
  • Hazelnut pasta
  • Hazelnut flour
  • Hazelnut milk
  • Hazelnut oil

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