Sunday morning 10th September, 2017
Harvest Time For Cobnuts
Fleeting and ephemeral, Autumn is hostess of our year’s golden hours. I love her pale misty mornings, carpets of amber and bronze rustling leaves underfoot, juicy purple blackberries, viridescent Bramley apples, and how she hides her burnished cob nuts inside little harvest cloaks of papery leaves.
Jackson Greens in Bridge Street, Belfast have some locally picked (off a cob nut tree in Larne) cob nuts for sale at the moment. I’ve just had some for breakfast and they tasted full of goodness and deliciously fresh.
Cobnuts are an ancient nut and are sometimes called filberts in old recipe books. A member of the hazelnut family, they are high in protein and Vitamin E.
Squirrels love cobnuts too, so if you’re going foraging you’d better be quick before they get them all over the next few weeks.
What do cobnuts taste like?
Cobnuts have a slight coconut taste and can be eaten raw and unroasted, but must be kept in the fridge in the salad drawer after shelling. Eat within a few days with salads or muesli. Some people sprinkle a little salt on cobnuts to bring out the flavour. They can also be ground or crumbled for baking.
Cobnuts can be substituted for hazelnuts in most recipes. The National Trust Cookbook (2016) has a lovely recipe for Sissinghurst honey, walnut and cobnut tart, an English version of the American favourite, pecan pie. The recipe uses equal quantities of pecan nuts and cobnuts. When cobnuts are not in season, hazelnuts from the supermarket can be used instead.