Hungarian walnuts are also in demand abroad

By: STA Date: 2022. 12. 20. 11:20

During the Advent season, many people buy nuts – it’s enough if you only think about the amount needed for bagels. Due to its relatively early harvest, Hungarian walnuts are a real niche market product in Europe, long before the appearance of the main European growing countries and cheap imported Californian walnuts – it is clear from the overview of the National Chamber of Agriculture and its educational campaign, the European Fresh Team program. In good vintages, its quality is outstanding, which is why it is sought after as a premium product on the markets of the European Union. The Hungarian walnut varieties have the earliest ripening time among the varieties grown in the northern hemisphere, and their fruit size is large, which means they represent an extra commodity value.

(Photo: NAK)

Walnuts are grown on 9,721 hectares in Hungary, with the largest areas in Szabolcs-Szatmár-Bereg (4,348 hectares), Borsod-Abaúj-Zemplén (922) and Somogy counties (601). The harvest volume in 2022 was over 15,400 tons, which is a 141% increase compared to the average of the last five years. This year’s good nut crop is due to the fact that the damage caused by the western nut borer was not significant, and it seems that the protection against it is being solved. The main destination countries for Hungarian walnut exports are: Romania, Slovakia and Germany.

Walnut breeding dates back to the founding of the predecessor of the NAIK – Fruit and Ornamental Plant Research Institute

The research started in 1950, Prof. dr. habile Under the care of Péter Szentiványi, who chose landscape selection among breeding methods. As a result, he singled out the varieties ‘Milotai 10’ and ‘Tisztacsécsi 83’ from the nut population in Tiszahát, and the variety ‘Alsószentiváni 117’ from Mezőföld. Among the domestic breeding goals were a late budding time (to avoid late spring frosts) and an increase in the yield with high productivity from side buds. In addition, another goal was an average fruit diameter of at least 32 mm, smooth skin surface, light skin and flesh, good taste, resistance and tolerance to pathogens and pests. State-recognized varieties found in the National Variety Register: Alsószentiváni 117, Alsószentiváni kései, Bonifác, Leszia, Milotai 10, Milotai bőtermő, Milotai intensive, Milotai kései, Tiszacsécsi 83, as well as 2 seedlings are included. State-recognized landscape varieties: Pilismaróti delicacy, Szentlászlói red-bellied (Danube bend region).

Walnuts are rich in vitamins A, B1, B2, B3, B6, C and E

Its core (nut gut) contains a lot of magnesium (against stress, nerve protection), zinc, potassium, calcium, folic acid, fluorine, copper, iron, as well as manganese and copper, which help in blood formation. Selenium is excellent against heart muscle weakness, not to mention its role as an immune booster. It is also advisable to think of walnuts as a source of fiber, so we can do a lot by consuming them for healthy digestion. Polyunsaturated fats, such as omega-3 fatty acids – alpha-linolenic acid – have a beneficial effect on the prevention of cardiovascular diseases and contribute to the improvement of the condition of blood vessels. It also supports brain function and increases concentration.

According to a research, consuming nuts twice a week reduces the risk of developing type 2 diabetes by 24 percent.

3-5 nuts per day are recommended, this amount already contributes to maintaining our health. It is often recommended for children as an antidote to anemia and to promote bone growth. It can be consumed even in its very early stage of maturity; the high vitamin C and iron content of green walnuts – which are essentially the young fruit without the shell – was once considered a real miracle drug.

It is also a popular filling for nut cakes, such as bagels

In addition to the walnut gut, different parts of the plant can also be used, and it has a long tradition in folk medicine (tea from walnut leaves for stomach ailments, tea made from walnut shells for skin problems, etc.). Gastronomy also likes to use it: its cold-pressed oil goes well with salads, soups, and sauces, but it can turn rancid quickly, so it is recommended to consume it quickly – warns the European Fresh Team program. Green walnuts in sugar syrup are particularly tasty even with mature cheeses and liver pâtés. However, its best-known form is the aromatic, particularly tasty green walnut jam, which has a blood pressure-lowering effect.

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