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Seasonal and local food offers taste, health and even economic benefits. Each month Crates Local Produce will highlight the best on offer in our region.


Cobnuts Known as Kentish Cobnuts, these derived from hazelnuts and were first cultivated in 1830 by Mr Lambert from Goudhurst, Kent. They were a delicacy of the Victorians who often had them after dinner whilst passing the port. The popularity and growing of cobnuts declined heavily over the last century and resulted in no more than 250 acres set aside for the crop in the whole of the country. However, like many of our traditional foods, the cobnut has come back to life with many top chefs rediscovering the delicious coconut flavour of the cobnut. Fresh cobnuts are available for a short period from the end of August and are covered in a soft green husk that is simply peeled back to reveal a juicy kernel. As the husks are susceptible to moisture, growers dry much of their remaining crop to be sold with hard shells, as you would find hazelnuts, although a cobnut shell is much easier to crack. These golden cobnuts are widely available from markets and greengrocers right up to and beyond Christmas. A very small number of growers also produce cobnut oil, a cholesterol-free source of soluble fibre and vitamins B and E that is lighter than other oils with a delicious nutty flavour.


rates Local Produce is located centrally within the historic market town of Horsham and bursts with fresh, seasonal food sourced directly from local producers. For more details


see www.crateslocal.co.uk. Follow on Twitter @crateslocal or Facebook page Crates Local.


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Squash


These amazing vegetables from the cucurbitaceae family come in a huge variety of size, colour and type, grown as squashes, gourds or pumpkins. They were domesticated throughout the Americas from 10,000 years ago and are now grown throughout the world and enjoyed by many cultures. In this country, we are used to butternut squash, but it is exciting now to see so many varieties of squashes being grown locally, including the South African gem squash, although it is often referred to as a rolet squash and is best boiled or baked whole and simply cut in half and covered with butter. The same treatment can be applied to the widely found acorn squash, but this is also really good to stuff. Other varieties include the bizarre spaghetti squash, a long oblong gourd that, when cooked, has flesh that falls away in ribbons, just like the pasta it is named after. Squashes can also be amongst the most dramatic and colourful of vegetables with a turban squash falling right into this category.


40 www.essence-magazine.co.uk


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