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Do you call hazelnuts filberts?

Just curious. When I was growing up in Boston everyone I knew did. I'm wondering if it's a regional thing, or cultural (we're Jewish and pretty much only had them in the house around Chanukah).

Did you/do you call them filberts - and if so where are you from?

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  1. Yes. But I re-describe as hazelnuts to people who look at me quizzicly when I say 'filbert'.

    Detroit. Polish/Catholic family.

    Mom still calls them filberts. She is 84.

    11 Replies
    1. re: Cathy

      Yes and no. I know they are onein the same and find myself trying to convince others of the fact. More commonly though, in my area of Northern New Jersey/NYC they are known as hazelnuts, unless you are speaking to older Italians, who most always call them filberts.

      1. re: fourunder

        "Hazelnut" has mostly supplanted the older "Filbert" most everywhere, I think. Maybe ex ept for old Italians and maybe even in Oregon, where many of my grad school buddies would go pick filberts for a few beer bucks back in the day.

        1. re: bob96

          No Italians in my family, and hardly any in our part of Illinois, but everyone I knew said "filbert." We were aware that "hazelnut" was another name for the same thing, just didn't use it. I think this is another good example of mass communications flattening out local differences, with more widely common names for things displacing colloquial usage.

          I'm still trying to understand how poblanos got to be officially named "pasillas" …

          1. re: Will Owen

            In Washington State, the wild ones (which were pretty common in the woods) were called hazlenuts. Their bigger cultivated cousins were called filberts.

            1. re: Will Owen

              Poblanos = pasillas? NOT! That's just gringo ignorance!

              1. re: Veggo

                Go buy some poblanos at the supermarket and that'll be how they're labelled and how they scan. I have read that people in some pockets of Mexico do DO call the dark-green heart-shaped chiles "pasillas" - so I'm guessing that when the USDA asked their resident Mexican what those are called, that's where he was from.

                1. re: Will Owen

                  Innocent errors occur. I blame the gringos on this one. And I am one...

                2. re: Perilagu Khan

                  PK , we are simpatico hermanos, the best way to be. I am comfortable poking fun at anyone, anywhere, any time, especially myself. For this, others wish me an early demise. Go figure.

                  1. re: Veggo

                    Heh heh. They've censored my post, precisely proving my point. Man, it's amazing how un-self aware and shameless some people are. **sigh** But this is the type of world the West is becoming.

                  2. re: Perilagu Khan

                    in group out group. you may make fun of the group you're in. plz specify ;-)

              2. re: fourunder

                Ha! I hadn't thought of the word "filbert" in years but that's just what the older Italians in my family called them when they cracked them after Thanksgiving and Christmas dinner. Never even realized they were the same thing.

            2. I am from Washington State......... and we invented hazelnuts (kinda kidding). We call them hazelnuts :)

              1. White trash gentile from the West Texas bulrushes. Grew up calling them filberts and still do. And outside of a few people in my fambly and passadumkeg, they're my favorite nuts.

                3 Replies
                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                  Houston here. Back in the 60's my big brother and his best friend held me down and shoved a nut in my nostril. To this day I remember the name, a filbert. It took me a while to extract it.

                  1. Brought up in England I remember them as cob nuts, and a very little research online suggests that 'cob' and 'filbert' were names given to the nuts from different species of hazelnut that yielded different shaped nuts.

                    6 Replies
                    1. re: andrewtree

                      Yeah I've heard that one as well, the round dark reddish ones are hazels, the longer more pale orange ones were filberts/cobnuts. Ive also heard a three tiered system based on how far the husk extends around the nut's shell; if it was shorter than the nut it was a hazel, more or less equal a filbert much longer a cobnut. Problem is, the same tree can yield nuts of more than one type in either classification (there is also the fact that, under the second system, the two american species would have to be classified as the american filbert and the beaked cobnut, and they're both hazels)

                      1. re: andrewtree

                        English here as well, never heard of hazelnuts being called filberts but have heard of cob nuts. But Leicester City Football Club played at Filbert St from 1891-2002, wonder where the name came from?

                        1. re: smartie

                          "Filbert" comes from St. Philibert. Apparenty, the Saint's feast day (Aug 20) tended to sync up roughly with the time the hazels were ripe and ready to pick in England.

                          1. re: jumpingmonk

                            You may be right about the origins. St Philibert was French and, after the conquest of England in 1066, many words came across the Channel and were incorporated into English usage. Our main area still for for growing hazelnuts is the county of Kent - only 21 miles from France - although now much reduced from the 2800 hectares a hundred years ago to around 300 now.

                            1. re: Harters

                              Well the source did say the the term was Norman French in origin. There is also the fact that the basis is sound. After all in the days before the common man had regular acess to calenders, dates were often calculated from the proximity to varios holy days, so it is likey that the average English nut forager (I almost said "the average English nutter!" g>) wound not have though of the season as being "around the 20th of August" but as being "around the Feast of St. Philibert" (sorta similar to how the autumn term at some of the old english schools is stilled called the Michelmas term, since its starts roughly around the Feast of St. Michael)

                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                can you imagine Cadbury's doing the commercial - 'Nuts, whole Filbert nuts, Cadbury's make em and they cover them in chocolate!!'

                                Fruit and nutcases huh?

                      2. Always called them hazelnuts. Parents spoke German at home when I was growing up and the German word (hazelnuss ) is similar. The nut wasn't that popular among other people where I lived (Pa. Dutch country ) and by the time they'd become more well known, most ppl called them hazelnuts.

                        They've always been my favorite nut!

                        1 Reply
                        1. re: nofunlatte

                          Grew up in german midwest area and only called them hazelnuts although we knew they were filberts too. The only real exposure we had when young was in bags of mixed nuts at christmas time. Later noticed they were popular in european chocolate bars.

                        2. Almost invariably in the UK, you see them as hazelnuts. If not hazelnuts, then it'll be cobnuts. Dont think I've ever seen them sold as filberts - although a number of plant nurseries here offer both cobnut and filbert to grow.

                          1. I remember the first time I saw filberts in the market in Chicago in the 80s. Now I never seem them labeled as anything other than hazelnuts.

                            1. i grew up as well in the Boston area and we called them filberts too. If I remember correctly, I do not think the term hazelnuts came into the picture until the '80s..

                              2 Replies
                              1. re: andieb

                                They were called filberts in southern Ohio in the 60's. I agree with andib that I think hazelnut was a "modern" term that came into vogue in the 80's.

                                1. re: woodleyparkhound

                                  I agree, and I'm guessing that the change in terminology on this side of the Atlantic may have come about in part due to the expansion of "foodie" culture in the '80s (and I do not use the word derogatorily). Thus the introduction of European products such as Nutella, chocolate bars and cakes made with "hazelnuts," and the like influenced usage. Plus, hazelnut just sounds more mellifluous than filbert. Filbert's a nerd word that you blurt; hazelnut is sexy as it buzzes across your tongue!

                              2. I call hazelnuts "Nutella". :)

                                1. labeled Filberts in our stores in Southern Oregon

                                  1 Reply
                                  1. re: bbqboy

                                    They are called Hazelnuts by the State of Oregon, however....

                                  2. We're from South Texas via England and we've always called them filberts.

                                    1. I grew up in West Virginia and we used the blanket term "hazelnut" there. I heard the word Filbert for the first time when I moved to Oregon a few years ago and had no idea what people were talking about. I discovered that they grow a lot of Filberts (Corylus maxima) in the Willamette Valley and that many people who live around there are careful to differentiate them from the Common Hazel or Cobnut (Corylus avellana.) They also do the same thing with Marionberries, a regionally grown blackberry variety. I've also heard of a third type of hazelnut called the Turkish Hazel (Corylus colurna.) Since I moved to Texas I've had a hard time finding hazelnuts in the store. Lo and behold they were in the bulk foods section of Whole Foods listed under "Filbert"- and I thought it was just a weird Oregon thing!

                                      1 Reply
                                      1. re: alloy1028

                                        There are actually a LOT of species of Hazelnut. North america actually has two native of it's own (though both are small nutted, and thefore not commecially grown) the American Hazel (Corylus americana) and the Beaked Hazel (Corylus cornuta) in fact back when I was a kid I sued to go to a summer camp that actually had a copse of beaked hazels (though since I was there in summer, the nuts were never ripe, so I can't commnent on how they taste)

                                      2. Both are the same nuts.

                                        I believe it was a marketing decision to switch from Filberts, an old nerdy name, to Hazelnut is the modern more hip name.

                                        7 Replies
                                        1. re: dave_c

                                          All the reason I need to keep calling them filberts.

                                            1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                              My husband still calls them filberts, but he also calls a microwave a "radar range," flip flops "thongs," and the remote control a "channel changer" soooo....

                                              1. re: alloy1028

                                                I call the fridge the ice box. And no, I didn't fight in the Battle of the Argonne Forest.

                                                1. re: Perilagu Khan

                                                  I too call them filberts, ESPECIALLY if they're candy coated, ala "mothballs", which might be a New England term.
                                                  and I agree, it's an ice box :-)

                                                  Interestingly, my dad called all hickory nuts, even those for human (as opposed to squirrel) consumption, "Pignuts". I don't believe it's botanically correct, but I still get a kick out of that 35 years past little kidhood.

                                                  1. re: pinehurst

                                                    Last Christmas season I got some filberts coated in spun sugar from the Vermont Country Store. They were tremendous. I imagine these are the mothballs to which you refer.

                                                    1. re: pinehurst

                                                      There are several types of hickory nuts and they can be tricky to differentiate.

                                                      Wallnuts species are escaping cultivation and hybridizing.

                                                      Lets not forget Butternuts and Wingnuts. Botanists love these sort of issues.

                                            2. I'm from Oregon, where they were always called "filberts" in everyday speech. The term "hazelnuts" was known, though, although it seems more formal.

                                              1 Reply
                                              1. re: GH1618

                                                I remember driving through Oregon and seeing the nut orchards. I was told they were "hazelnuts." The interesting thing was that the leaves between the trees were raked into neat little piles in order to raise night crawlers for the bait shops.

                                              2. Grew up in CT from Ohio born-and bred parents, and they were always called filberts. Imagine my surprise when they turned out to be the 'hazelnuts' that I kept hearing so much about years later....and one snooty chef informed me that THAT was what "WE" called them now......

                                                1. Nobody I know ever calls them filberts, I've only come across the word in print (very rarely), so I didn't know they're actually hazelnuts.

                                                  1 Reply
                                                  1. re: John Francis

                                                    This. I feel like I've seen the word (filbert) before, but until this thread I had no idea hazelnuts were known by another name.

                                                    Whoops, editing to add that I'm from New York.

                                                  2. No, but my father did. I won't post what he called Brazil nuts, however; some things are best left to history.

                                                    9 Replies
                                                    1. re: pikawicca

                                                      I have always called them hazelnuts but I've always known that they were also called filberts as well; I think my grandparents used the term filbert. As for Brazil nuts, they had the same special name for those that your dad had, pika!

                                                      1. re: pikawicca

                                                        My grandfather Owen called brazil nuts by the unmentionable name at every opportunity, I think because he knew how much it riled my dad. His notion of humor. However, lots of the kids I knew used it routinely and quite innocently. There's a lot I do NOT miss about the Good Old Days.

                                                        1. re: Will Owen

                                                          I cringe when I remember how easily the words "eenie, meanie, meinie, mo, catch a ***** by the toe" tripped off our childish tongues.

                                                          1. re: pikawicca

                                                            Same here, pika, including the Brazil nuts. But they have all quietly died away. And they meant no harm. That's the way it was.

                                                            1. re: Veggo

                                                              They weren't even confined to that plant. At one point I did some part time work in a medicinal herb shop. One of the commoner herbs I had to dig out was Senna tora (now Senna obtusifolia, the store got the two names confused as well) One of the oldder customers would come regularly to pick some up. Only he called it by one of it's common names which happens to be the same epithet as the brazil nuts (well, the marginally lesser version, the five letter one as opposed to the six) +coffee. I am also reminded of the fact that Citrus hystix is now called Markut Lime, as the older name (the one that began with "K", six letters) was finally deemed too offensive (though I think there is still a sort of edible tree legume native to Africa called "K-word" bean. And of course there is a small edible fruit called a "H-word"(nine letters) fig).

                                                              1. re: jumpingmonk

                                                                you lost me with the H word and the K word.

                                                                1. re: Sharuf

                                                                  You have to be British (and rather old fashioned) to usually get those two. Both are pejoratives against people of African decent

                                                                  1. re: Sharuf

                                                                    The K rhymes with "Laugher" the H with "Hot to trot"

                                                          2. re: pikawicca

                                                            @pikawicca......prob. called the Brazil nuts the same thing my father did !

                                                            Grew up in Brooklyn,NY always called them filberts.

                                                          3. My grandmother (born 1913) called them filberts, but never heard that name again until I met a guy from Hawaii named Philbert.

                                                            1. Connecticut born. Filberts when eaten as nuts. Hazelnuts when written in recipes or when sold at a high price.

                                                              1. What's the big deal? A rose by any other name...

                                                                What matters about any name is its ability to communicate to others. So it's not a bad idea to know other names for this nut as well as other foods. But the ethnicity or national background of a term is nothing to brag or argue about. Some nationalities and ethnicities DO often have unique and lovely recipes for them, regardless of what they're called. Those matter, at least to foodies like me.

                                                                By whatever name, filberts/hazelnuts are the same nut.

                                                                The only people with valid concerns about the names people use for things are etymologists, who study words and their derivations. The rest of us should have more lofty things to think about than to quibble over the name of a nut.

                                                                2 Replies
                                                                1. re: fastermx

                                                                  Etymologists wrangle, haggle, torture themselves for correct contemporary use of words, distilled from origins disconnected by time or geography. Allow some patience and respect for their work!

                                                                  1. re: fastermx

                                                                    One needn't be an etymologist to be interested in words. There is no need to put down people who are interested in discussing something which you are not.

                                                                  2. Growing up in the Pacific Northwest, we always called them filberts, until the early 90's...then "hazelnuts" came into fashion!

                                                                    1. Californian here, and hazelnuts, though they were often sold in stores as filberts. I thought the distinction was between wild and cultivated.

                                                                      6 Replies
                                                                      1. re: Savour

                                                                        Yes, wild people call them filberts. We cultivated people call them hazelnuts in polite company.

                                                                        1. re: GH1618

                                                                          Witch Hazel? Sorry, which hazel.

                                                                          1. re: Veggo

                                                                            Wasn't there a sitcom about a witch called Hazel? Or maybe that was Bewitched. Ah hell...

                                                                        2. We call hazel nuts hazel nuts. We call Brazil Nuts filberts interchangably

                                                                          4 Replies
                                                                          1. re: sassysis01

                                                                            Never heard of Brazil Nuts being called Filberts, but do remember Brazil Nuts being called something else that is not really repeatable today.

                                                                            1. re: Tripeler

                                                                              I'll say it for you...Nigga toes (no disrespect to anyone; I'm part African American) I heard it growing up in New York 60's.

                                                                              Also back then, hazelnuts were filberts, not brazil nuts

                                                                              1. re: Cherylptw

                                                                                Thanks for pitching in.
                                                                                It was my grandfather who called them that. He was a labor union organiser in the Texas oilfields in the 1930s, and was eventually kicked out of his union for demanding that black workers and white workers get the same pay for the same job description. Apparently, too radical for the times back then. Well, he was also a charter member of the U.S. Communist Party. He would have been 100 when Obama was elected, though he never would have imagined it.