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Everywhere We Go

September 18th, 2010

“Everywhere we go we end up foraging something” said Mr Chiots yesterday as we were picking up chestnuts at the family cabin.

Several years ago when we harvested them it was a huge pain, literally. The spiny husks weren’t easy to open and we were constantly yelling “OUCH” as we were picking them up. I donned leather gloves and removed the nuts of most of the ones we gathered. They nuts were rather small, not nearly as nice as the ones we picked yesterday. It was a great year for chestnuts, they’re all nice and plump and 99% of the husks were already popped open on the ground, no yelling involved.

Several years ago we roasted some at the family Thanksgiving meal, but none of us were really huge fans, except one of our nieces who enjoyed them. I’m never one to check something off until I’ve tried it many times and in a variety of forms. So, I’m hoping to roast some and I will try my hand at making some chestnut flour to use for pasta, pancakes and maybe some gnocchi.

We ended up with about a half a bushel of chestnuts, they’ll need some attention here in the next couple days. I think I’m going to try a variety of preservation methods from drying, storing in the fridge, freezing the roasted ones, and boiling a few to freeze as well and of course roasting some, drying them and grinding them into flour.

They’re a healthy treat, not technically a nut, they’re classified as vegetables since they’re a starch. They contain fiber, potassium, iron, zinc and manganese. Hopefully we can learn to love this classic healthy food, especially since we can get it every year for free.

Any experienced chestnut eaters out there?
Any recommendations for ways to eat or store them?

17 Comments to “Everywhere We Go”
  1. Lisa Brown on September 18, 2010 at 7:49 am

    I love chestnuts! cut an x in the nut and “nuke” it for 30 sec. peel the shell and eat yum.

    Reply to Lisa Brown's comment

  2. carolyn on September 18, 2010 at 8:23 am

    Iwas always told these were called Buckeyes. Don’t have a clue why. I found that my nieghbor has a tree. WOW!!! Let us know how things go and what you make from then. I think I might go talk to my neighbor.

    Reply to carolyn's comment

    • Susy on September 18, 2010 at 8:48 am

      They look slightly similar to buckeyes, but buckeyes are generally larger and smoother than chestnuts. Make sure you know for sure before eating as buckeyes are supposed to be toxic.

      The easiest way to tell if it’s a chestnut is by the burrs or spines on the outer husk, some buckeyes have a few burrs, but they’re not nearly as spiny as chestnuts. You can see in the first photo how spiny they are.

      Also buckeyes only have one seed per pod, chestnuts usually have 3.

      Happy hunting.

      Reply to Susy's comment

      • carolyn on September 18, 2010 at 11:34 pm

        Ok, So, I was talking about this today. And, Yes, there is a difference in buckeyes ( are poisonious ) and chesnuts. So, guess I have alot to learn. Have never tried chesnuts. Got to find a resorce for these so I can try them.. Thanks, Carolyn

        to carolyn's comment

  3. Misti on September 18, 2010 at 9:40 am

    These aren’t American chestnuts are they?

    Reply to Misti's comment

    • Susy on September 19, 2010 at 12:58 am

      I believe they’re Chinese.

      Reply to Susy's comment

  4. Debbie on September 18, 2010 at 9:47 am

    When I lived in Toronto, my aunt came to visit me one time in the winter and we got some roasted chestnuts from a street vender; it was the first time I’d had them. I was hooked. I love them roasted; their sweet meat makes such a delicious snack. Enjoy!

    Reply to Debbie's comment

  5. lee on September 18, 2010 at 11:38 am

    I love them roasted but all that peeling is too much for me so I eat them boiled. Boiling softens them and it’s easy to split them in half with your teeth, then just scoop out the meat with a teaspoon.

    Reply to lee's comment

  6. Beegirl on September 18, 2010 at 1:39 pm

    Nice haul. I think I remember chestnut stuffing in a wild turkey one year for Thanksgiving at my parents… It was wonderful.

    Reply to Beegirl's comment

  7. heather jane on September 18, 2010 at 11:14 pm

    Keep us posted on your progress with these nuts. I have a free resource as well and really don’t know what to do with them. They sure are pretty sitting on my table, though! I’ve just used them as decoration before.

    Reply to heather jane's comment

  8. Renee Elizabeth on September 19, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    I know Amy Goldman (author of “Melons for a Passionate Grower” among other books) used to have a recipe on her site for winter squash soup in which she pureed canned chestnuts for a thickening agent.

    I sent Ms. Goldman an email asking if she had a recipe for canning them and they were store bought. I’ve looked all over the web for a recipe and have been unsuccessful so far. I’ve seen both sweet and salty versions of canned chestnuts in the store.

    I suppose it would be possible to simply puree roasted chestnuts when making the soup, but I don’t know if this would effect the canning time, of course it would have to be pressure canned…

    Any thoughts? And if you find a recipe for canning chestnuts please post it, thanks… love your site.

    Reply to Renee Elizabeth's comment

  9. nic@nipitinthebud on September 19, 2010 at 5:30 pm

    My father-in-law always roasts chestnuts on the fire at Christmas time and he and I are the only ones who eat them. Lucky us :o)
    They’re expensive to buy here and even more so if you want a tin of pureed chestnuts. I did splash out once for the small amount required for a recipe and it was worth it. I froze the rest of it in ice cube trays so I could add chunks to soups. It’s especially good with earthy pumpkin or squash recipes. From an energetic point of view chestnuts are very warming, especially for the kidneys, and promote blood circulation. Just what you need for an autumnal afternoon in the garden!

    Reply to nic@nipitinthebud's comment

  10. Kimberly on September 19, 2010 at 6:28 pm

    I made this lentil and chestnut recipe last winter for my parents. I scored and roasted the chestnuts first. It was a hit.

    Reply to Kimberly's comment

  11. Marlyn on September 19, 2010 at 10:09 pm

    What a beautiful harvest — I hope you find a way to enjoy them!

    I am going to try to do the same with our insane annual acorn drop! I know the native people of our area used them as a food staple and I hope to at least find a place in our diet for them!

    Reply to Marlyn's comment

  12. […] This post was mentioned on Twitter by mark mile and Lynn Bailey, Susy Morris. Susy Morris said: Everywhere We Go #edible #harvest #chestnuts #foraging #wildfood […]

    Reply to Tweets that mention Harvesting Chestnuts | Chiot’s Run —'s comment

  13. Jaspenelle on September 21, 2010 at 10:56 am

    When I lived in Paris we use to buy roasted chestnuts in a heavy paper cone from a street vendor while we wandered around the Christmas Market for a tree. I have had roasted chestnuts since but they have never been as good. I wonder what his secret was?

    Reply to Jaspenelle's comment

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This is a daily journal of my efforts to cultivate a more simple life, through local eating, gardening and so many other things. We used to live in a small suburban neighborhood Ohio but moved to 153 acres in Liberty, Maine in 2012.

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