Roasting Chestnuts and Chestnut Recipes Bedfordshire
Roasting Chestnuts and Chestnut Recipes
Roasting Chestnuts and Easy Chestnut Recipes
Sweet chestnuts can be a delicious and easy source of free food.
Roasting chestnuts and eating them by the hearth is perhaps the easiest and most agreeable thing to do with them.
If you are a wild food fan, you may wamt to explore further and tackle some chestnut recipes.
Here are some easy chestnut recipes and facts about chestnuts as a food source.
Wild chestnuts are available in mid to late autumn in parks and woods almost thoughout the world. Chestnuts originated in Asia Minor and the Romans spread them around Europe as they conquered and colonised. There are different varieties of edible chestnut in Asia and they were cultivated in China and Japan from the earliest times. In North America the American Chestnut was practically wiped out by chestnut blight in the early twentieth century. Now efforts are being made to re-stabilise it as a species by careful crossing with more resistant Asian varieties.
Roasting chestnuts and nutrition
Chestnuts have a lot going for them as a food source. They are rich in nutrients such as starches and sugars. They are very low in saturated fats and contain virtually no cholesterol. The protein content is also surprisingly low. They even contain moderate amounts of vitamin C. They store reasonably well.
Chestnuts make an acceptable flour which can be used as a substitute for cereal flours. Best of all they are delicious.
Harvesting and choosing roasting chestnuts
Chestnuts are easy and fun to harvest in small amounts. The prickly outer shell (the "burr") needs not provide much of an obstacle to their enjoyment; just roll your foot over them gently and most ripe ones will simply pop out of the green outer layer. If you visit a place with several trees to choose from you are reasonably certain to find ones which have popped out by themselves. Sometimes you need to scrabble about in the leaf-litter around and beneath the trees to find the best ripe nuts.
Avoid chestnuts that have splits or holes in them and any which are very small. Older ones look darker and may have already dried some and be rattling in their shells. The best ones are large and glossy chestnut brown.
Children usually enjoy foraging for them as part of an autumn walk. Stout shoes and gloves are a good idea as they can be extremely prickly when in their burrs and it's always temping to try to pick them up!
Don't forget if you are out in the woods to leave plenty for the wildlife. Jays and squirrels like them and store them for the winter. I've even seen a muntjac hanging about in our chestnut patch, so maybe they eat them, too.
You can eat chestnuts raw but they are rather acidic and likely to disagree if you eat more than a few.
Preparing roasting chestnuts
The inner brown peel is another tough barrier to be overcome. Most cultivated varieties have a tough shiny shell or peel which is difficult to remove effectively. For most people simply roasting che...