Hazelnut quality and sensory evaluation in organic and conventional growing systems
Abstract: Consumer acceptance of organic products requires the association of the production system with directly perceivable quality attributes. Up to now, organically grown hazelnuts have been scarcely characterised for specific quality traits. Nuts of two Italian hazelnut cultivars, ‘Tonda Gentile Romana’ and ‘Tonda di Giffoni’, grown in conventional and organic systems, were evaluated for technological traits, kernel chemical composition and sensory profile. Organic nuts showed a slightly lower oil and starch content, a lower incidence of total saturated fatty acids and a higher content of oleic acid in comparison to conventional ones. Crude protein content in the kernel was higher in organic nuts in ‘Tonda di Giffoni’. In both cultivars, the organic regime has positively influenced the content of polyphenols in the kernel. Sensory evaluation revealed differences associated with the growing system for the attributes of colour and oiliness of roasted kernels. The organic samples were the most appreciated for both cultivars.