Now is the perfect time to be harvesting and collecting Hazelnuts (or Cobnuts) from trees and hedgerows in the wild. There are many different Hazelnut trees growing throughout the United Kingdom, especially in places like Kent, Dorset, Worcestershire and Devon. They are still grown commercially in many of these locations, though when cultivated or grown this way the nut is usually larger, and is referred to as a Cobnut.
The Hazelnut trees contain quite small, green, roundish-shaped leaves. They are often found in old woodlands, and are usually found in hedgerows. Sometimes they are used specifically to form a hedgleline, as they are very easy to manipulate and grow at quite a good speed.
The nuts themselves will be covered in a leafy green shell, and will normally be found in clusters of around 3 nuts at a time. At this time of year the hazelnuts will be quite green, but when left for a little longer they will start to turn brown.
The hazelnuts need to be cracked open (carefully use a nut-cracker as they are quite tough) and inside you will find the edible nut, or kernel. These will taste quite sweet and crunchy when green, though most people prefer them when brown – they taste a lot nicer when roasted too.
It is highly recommended that you start collecting these Hazelnuts now – else you risk losing the lot to the squirrels and other hungry creatures. If collected now, they can be stored in a warm dry place for several months.
In a few weeks time we will update the blog to include some delicious Hazlenut recipes – so be sure to check back soon!