Over the ages people around the world have developed numerous superstitions about hazelnuts, or filberts. Many of these beliefs stem from the fact that the hazel tree blooms twice a year, which accounts for the belief that the hazel tree symbolizes fertility. In Germanic lore, for instants, hazelnuts are considered symbols of immortality.

September 14 is the beginning of the nutting season. In the hedgerows and the woods the hazelnuts begin to ripen and break open; one must be careful not to pick the nuts while still green as the magical power of the tree streams into the nut at this time. To pick a green nut would offend the spirit of the tree. The nuts of the hazel tree symbolize wisdom and the branches make powerful wands and divining rods. A rod made from a Y- shaped branch was believed to possess supernatural powers of divination. The art of divining was called rhabdomancy this term is derived from the Greek rhapdos-rod and manteia-divination, and could find buried treasure.

Dowsing is the term used when searching for water, minerals and ore. Prospectors in some parts of the world still practice dowsing today. Sorcerers and wizards carried hazel rods, and in Greek myth Circe used her rod to turn men into swine. In Swedish myth the nuts themselves made people invisible.

In Greek mythology the two sons of Jupiter, Apollo, the God of harmony and Mercury the God of eloquence exchanged gift with which they would be empowered to provide a better life for humanity. Apollo received a lyre made of tortoise shell, whose tone would free the artistic spirit of mankind. Mercury got a winged wand made of hazel; its touch would enable men to express their thoughts by words. Ancient Romans revered the hazel tree and associated it with marriage burning torches of hazel during the wedding night to ensure a happy and peaceful union of the newly wed couple.

An old Victorian name for Halloween is Nutcrack night. On this night, old charms tell us to place a pair of nuts named after you and your lover, into a fire. If they burn to ashes together, you will have a long and happy relationship together. If the nuts crackle or jump apart, arguments and bickering can be expected. If one of the nuts catches flame and burns brightly, you can expect riches.

The ancients were correct in associating hazelnut with the heart. The hazelnut is magic; this nut protects, strengthens and gives the gift of a longer, healthier and happier life indeed, for they contain the second highest levels of Proanthocyanidin (PAC) of all superfoods. PAC?s are antioxidants that are twenty times more powerful than vitamin C, and fifty times more powerful than vitamin E. These antioxidants strengthen blood vessels, suppress platelet stickiness, reduce cardiovascular disease, lower blood pressure and delay the onset of dementia. They also contain folic acid, copper, magnesium, oleic acid, B6, iron and phosphorous. They contain monounsaturated fat and anti-diabetic fiber. Hazelnuts keep your heart beating and loving longer, and I hope you love this recipe as much as my Rick does.

Hazelnut Stuffed Roasted Tomatoes

  • Preheat oven to 350*
  • 6 medium tomatoes
  • 1/2tsp. salt
  • 2/3 c. hazelnuts, toasted, skinned and chopped
  • 2/3 c. parmesan cheese
  • 3 TBSP. fresh chopped basil
  • 2 tsp. minced garlic
  • 2 Tbsp. olive oil

Cut tops off tomatoes and sprinkle salt inside each one then set open side down on a paper towel to drain. Mix remaining ingredients in a bowl. Place tomatoes in baking dish and fill with mixture. Drizzle with olive oil and bake for 30 minutes or until brown on top.