Below we have placed answers to the most frequently asked questions about cobnuts. If you have a valuable question that you think will be good for this page let us know.

What is a Kent Cobnut?

Kentish Cobnuts or Kent Cobnuts are a specially cultivated and heritage variety of hazelnut. They have a long oval shape shell and an enclosed leafy husk. Cobnuts are nutritionally rich and high in protein. Traditionally, they are grown in the county of Kent, United Kingdom.

As a variety the Kentish Cobnut is very distinct from commonly purchased hazelnuts and has its own flavour. In the same way as a Bramley Apple is very different to a Gala or Cox. Many hazelnuts we see in the shop or chocolate are smaller and have very circular kernels whereas the ‘Kent Cobnut’ variety is longer and is not circular.

Dehusked Kent Cobnuts in handClose Up

What nutrients are in Kent Cobnuts?

Cobnuts contain a range of vitamins and are an excellent source of fibre and protein.

The Kent Cobnut Association says nutritionally cobs contain:

12%-17% Protein (dry weight)

21mg Vitamin E

141mg Calcium

0.4mg VitaminB1

0.55mg Vitamin B6

What do you do with Cobnuts?

Kentish Cobnuts are great freshly cracked and on their own. Alternatively, there are a range of recipes that use Kentish cobnuts as a unique and seasonal ingredient.

We have gathered a few recipes here however there are lots more online. The Kent Cobnut Association also has a brilliant list of recipes. They circulate new recipes in their paper newsletter to association members known as the Cobweb.

Are cobnuts and hazelnuts the same?

As mentioned above, Kentish Cobnuts are a specially cultivated and heritage variety of hazelnut. It can generally, be identified by the long oval shape shell.

Kent cobnuts are also traditionally eaten ‘fresh’ , ‘raw’ or ‘green’. This is when the husk (leaf) that encloses the shelled nut is green. The edible kernel is very flavoursome and has a higher moisture content than dried hazelnut kernel. This can add to the confusion because it is a fresh long nut that looks very different to a dried and shelled hazelnut.

Kentish Cobnuts can be dried and roasted. They can be identified by the long oval kernel shape (which contrasts to the spherical hazelnut). When drier or dry, cobnuts have a sweeter flavour.

The general term ‘cobnuts’ and ‘filberts’ are another name for hazelnuts. Whereas ‘Kentish Cobnuts’, ‘Kent Cobnuts’ and ‘Kent Cobs’ are usually refering to the specific variety. For example a ‘Bramley’ apple is a very distinctive type variety of apple and has different characteristics to say a ‘Gala’ or ‘Pink Lady’.

At Roughway Farm we grow over 50 different varieties of cobnut / hazelnut and the main ones sold for consumers are Kent, Ennis, Gunslebert and Cosford. Each of these are very unique and different.

Where and when can I buy Cobnuts?

You can buy Kentish Cobnuts directly from us and also at supermarkets (Morrisons & Waitrose), independent retailers and directly from a number of farms. The Kentish Cobnuts Association has a list of suppliers.

Kentish cobnuts are usually eaten when they are green and fresh however they are also eaten later in the season when they become sweeter and the kernels begin to dry. Kentish cobnuts are available from late August-December depending on the season. The peak is usually Late September / Early October.

Recently people have been trying to re-label general hazelnuts as Kentish Cobnuts so we recommend that you look into the nuts in more detail particularly the origins and shape to avoid mis-selling of the ‘Kentish Cobnut’ variety. General ‘cobnuts’ could refer to a number of varieties. ‘Kentish Cobnuts’ or ‘Kent Cobnuts’ are a specific variety.

When is cobnut season?

In the UK the cobnut picking season starts end of August and continues through September. The peak is usually Late September / Early October.

How are Kent Cobnuts grown?

Cobnuts are grown on trees and in Kent are grown in fields known as Plats. Kentish Cobnut Plats are beautiful areas and unique to the Kentish landscape.

View gallery of images from the 2016 cobnut harvest

A Kent Cobnut Plat during harvest time

Carrot and Kent cobnut muffins recipe

What are Cobnuts used for?

Cobnuts can be eaten fresh (raw, green) or dried. They have different tastes depending on moisture content. Cobnuts can be roasted, toasted and used in a wide variety of recipes.

Fresh nuts are better in salads and roasted in cakes and sweets. Cobnuts can be further processed into nut butter, flour, confectionery, dukkah and many other products.

How to store Kent Cobnuts?

If you want to store and keep your cobnuts for a while and maintain large kernels you should keep them in the fridge salad draw.

Please see more on the different options below.

  • Fresh Green Cobnuts

Green / Golden Kentish Cobnuts should be kept cool and ideally in the fridge. This keeps the nut kernel full of moisture. We recommend putting them in an open container or lose in a salad draw so that they do not sweat. Do not for example keep your cobnuts in an enclosed/unbreathable plastic bag.

  • Drier Cobnuts

If you like your nuts drier and sweeter we recommend keeping them in a bowl away from direct sun and heaters. A cooler room in the house is preferable. This is so the cobnut kernels do not become excessively dry and shrivel.

Nuts that are left in their husks will dry more slowly than dehusked cobnuts.

Husked cobnuts will darken and the husk will go from green to golden and then brown. The husk should be kept on these and you should monitor the nut kernels (if wanting to keep for a month or more) as these will sweeten however you will want to avoid them shrivelling due to to much warmth.

  • Few Extras

Sensible monitoring of green and dried cobnuts will mean that you will be able to enjoy cobs for months from purchase well into Christmas and the winter months.

You should check your dry cobs and green cobs for mould and if there is a bad nut this should be removed. In a good cluster of nuts it can be possible for there to be one bad nut. So do not through away the cluster instead simply break off the bad nut.

  • The Life Cycle of the Kent Cobnut

More information on about the development of Kent Cobnut in flavour and appearance can be found here: “The Life Cycle of the Kent Cobnut

  • Dig for cobnuts – A Novel Approach to storage…

We have had details from one customer who said that they choose to store their cobnuts each year in a tin buried in the garden. They recommend it as a technique as it keeps them cool and fresh.

Kent Cobnuts in Union Jack hopper
Different varieties of cobnut - Kent, Ennis, Gunslebert
Gunslebert, Kent, Ennis Cobnuts

Can you eat raw Cobnuts?

Cobnuts are traditionally eaten fresh, raw or green.They have a high protein content and are nutritionally rich. They have a great taste and are moreish. They can also be dried and this makes the kernel slightly sweeter.

Can you eat Cobnuts straight from the tree?

Kent Cobnuts can be eaten straight from the tree and are traditionally eaten this way. However, they must be picked at the correct time as the nut kernel will otherwise be underdeveloped. Cobnuts are usually ready for picking in September. You will need to get there before the squirrels!

How do you harvest Cobnuts?

Kentish Cobnuts are traditionally hand picked from the tree. Other varieties of hazelnuts around the world are picked by a mix of machines and by hand. The machines collect the nuts from the orchard floor.

How to remove the skins from cobnuts?

To remove the skins or felt from cobnuts you need to either; toast, roast or use a baking powder solution. We recommend toasting or roasting for best results. But the baking powder method is useful to know for the right occasion. Watch our video on removing skins from Kentish cobnuts.

Preparing cobnuts roasting and removing skins
Green gunslebert cobnuts with salt and antique cobnut crackers

What can I do with fresh cobnuts?

Fresh (raw or green) cobnuts are great in range of recipes where a milkier, fresher nut is more complimentary to the dish. They have a higher moisture content than toasted and roasted Kent cobnuts. This means they are good in salads and vegetable dishes. As mentioned above we have a range of recipes on our recipe page.

Our fresh cobnut recipes include; Creamed mushrooms with fresh cobnuts, Duck with blackberries and fresh green cobnuts, Cobnut crusted goat’s cheese

Another favourite is fresh cobnuts with a bit of salt.

Do I need nutcrackers?

Yep – The Kernel (nut) is the bit you eat and this is contained in a shell and this is contained in a husk. There can be a felt like substance on the actual kernel and this is edible so there is no need to painstakingly peel this off. It goes without saying but the shell and husk are not edible. So save your teeth and get some nut crackers!

Of course if you are buying ‘shelled cobnuts’ or ‘kernel’ or ‘nut meat’ then this is ready to eat. We hope to be offering this to our customers soon.

How to crack or open cobnuts? (Without crackers)

A quick technique to open / crack cobnuts without crackers is to use a tea towl, rolling pin and bread board.

Place your cobnuts into small piles. Then crack each pile by wrapping them tightly into the tea towl or cloth so they can’t escape. Place on the bread board and hit the cobnuts firmly with the rolling pin multiple times. Then pick out the kernels.

You may want to test the cracking technique to make sure you are not pulverising the nuts or hitting shell into the kernel.

Are Cobnuts suitable for vegetarians and vegans?

Cobnuts are a great food for vegetarians and vegans with high nutritional value and protein content. We have partnered with the Vegetarian Society and they have approved all of our Cobnut varieties.

Can I eat Cobnuts?

Yes. Cobnuts are edible and flavoursome. You can eat cobnuts and they are very good addition to your diet. Research suggests there are significant benefits from eating nuts daily. Cobnuts are a tree nut and are an allergen so be aware if allergic to tree nuts.

Will cob nuts ripen off the tree?

Cobnuts will not technically ripen further but the flavours of cobnuts will develop when off the tree. Storage methods will impact this significantly.
Keeping them cool in a salad draw will keep the kernels fresh and raw for longer. Leaving them out in the home will mean the kernels dry and sweeten.

Can I grow a cobnut tree from seed?

You can grow a tree from a cobnut. However, this would be known as a seedling. It will not crop to type, meaning that it might not produce nuts or carry the traits of the tree it fell from. To produce nut trees you require clones of the parent plant. These are produced by the tree in the form of whips / suckers that grow up from the base of the tree.