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Hazelnuts: Metis Cuisine

Hazelnut (Corylus cornuta): The Beaked Hazelnut or pakan (from the Cree) can be eaten raw when fresh, or stored for winter use. The Metis also use hazelnuts to make a form of peanut butter. Nutella is the brand name for this commercial prod uct. This pakan grows wild in along riverbound regions. No one who has to buy hazelnuts at the store can afford them these days whereas its value to Aboriginal communities was almost casual. Children have been known to eat an entire bush right out and unless there was another bush nearby, they often would have none left to take home. The boiled bark makes a reddish brown dye. Small branches are placed around babys necks on a sinew to prevent them from becoming ill during teething.

Compiled by Lawrence Barkwell Coordinator of Metis Heritage and History Research Louis Riel Institute