1. What is a Kent Cobnut?
A Kentish Cobnut is a variety of hazelnut. As a variety it 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.
Some people do use Kentish Cobnuts as a catch all term for tree grown nuts from Kent. So at Roughway Farm we grow over 50 different varieties of cobnut and the main ones sold for consumers are Kent, Ennis, Gunslebert and Cosford. Each of these are very unique and different but could be broadly termed as Kent Cobnuts as Cobnuts that are grown in Kent.
2. 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
0.55mg Vitamin B6
3. 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.
4. 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.
5. Where and when can I buy Cobnuts?
You can buy Kentish Cobnuts from some supermarkets, independent retailers and directly online from a number of farms such as Roughway Farm. 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 Kentish Cobnuts
6. 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.
See a Cobnut Plat as we walk through a plat during harvest time:
7. 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!
8. How to store my Kent Cobnuts?
Fresh Green Cobnuts
Green 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 salad draw so that they are not restricted from air (this avoids sweating).
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. These nuts that are left in their husks should dry and darken 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 too much warmth.
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.