The Kentish Cobnuts Association
Conserving and Promoting British Hazelnuts

What is a Cobnut

A cobnut is what we call a cultivated hazelnut. There are many varieties of cultivated hazelnut, just as there are many kinds of apple.

Cobnuts are delicious when eaten raw, like other nuts; some people like to eat them with a little salt. They can also be used in cooking – see Recipes – and cobnut oil, biscuits and other products are also made from them - see Suppliers. 

Cobnuts are also excellent roasted, which brings out their flavour. Roasted nuts can be eaten on their own, or used whole, chopped or ground to flavour pasta, meringues, fruit crumbles, cakes, cake toppings etc. To roast cobnuts, crack and shell them, then cook them on tinfoil or a baking tray in an oven heated to about 150°C, 300°F, Gas Mark 2, for an hour or so; the cooking time depends on how ripe and how dry they are. Removefrom oven & allow to cool.

Cobnuts are sold fresh, not dried like most other nuts. They can usually only be bought from about the middle of August through to October. Stored nuts may be available from selected larger outlets throughout the year. At the beginning of the season the husks are green and the kernels particularly juicy. Nuts harvested later on have brown shells and husks, and the full flavour of the kernel has developed; at this stage they store well.

Cobnuts are available from selected greengrocers, supermarkets, farmers markets and online – see Suppliers.

Cobnut kernels typically contain 12%-17% protein by dry weight, and about 10%-15% fibre. Cobnuts are very rich in vitamin E and in calcium, typically containing about 21mg and 141mg per 100g kernel (dry weight) respectively. They provide about 0.4mg and 0.55mg of vitamins B1 and B6 respectively per 100g dry weight.

Wild hazel bushes grow throughout most of the UK and hazelnuts were an important food in prehistoric times. Cultivated varieties of hazel have been grown in gardens and orchards since at least the 16th century. The name ‘Cobnut’ probably comes from a game children played, which was an early version of 'conkers’ where the winning nut was called the “cob". By the 19th century large areas of Kent were devoted to growing hazelnuts commercially, and so the name came to be Kentish Cobnuts. Today the majority are still grown in Kent but there are also nut orchards in other counties too.