Midwest hazelnuts are now in season, but you might have stiff competition finding them — they're a popular snack for wildlife, too.
The American hazelnut is native to Minnesota and is smaller (and many say tastier) than the European varieties usually found in stores. As with any nut, roasting brings out its very best. Use heart-healthy hazelnuts in salads, baked goods, pesto, stir-fries and granola, or eat them by the handful. Consider also adding hazelnut oil to your pantry. It's a fragrant and nutty replacement for olive oil, but with a higher smoke point and half the saturated fat. Drizzle it on roasted vegetables, infuse salad dressings or make sauces extra saucy.