Following on from our two previous chestnut posts here and here we have a fantastic comment from Nick in Australia. We felt it would be a crime to keep this highly interesting information relegated to the comments section and as such we have posted it below so that none of you EB readers will miss out on it!
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Nick B Says:
I’m in Australia, and our Chestnut trees have just broken out
in leaf and catkins, another few weeks and that sweet pollen smell will fill
the air, …… ahhh! …. beautiful!
You asked about raw chestnuts being edible? …. I tell people who want to
eat them raw, that they taste like cattle food. One bite is generally enough
to convince them that cattle have different taste to humans and that that
they are not cattle.
I have given raw chestnuts to cattle, and they love them, so draw your own
I have found that aged chestnuts do sweeten up as their starches change to
sugar over time, but often they will go mouldy or rotten before this
Cooking the chestnuts converts the starch to sugar quickly, the duration of
the cooking determines the sweetness and texture.
One easy way of cooking them is to steam them for ten to twenty minutes,
that way they can’t burn and remain moist. You may still burn your fingers
when you open them, but at least they’re only first degree burns, and a pair
of light gloves will protect you if you have a lot to do.
If you cook in this way, and cut the nut in half, the astringent brown pith
comes away with glossy skin to make a really nice product whether you’re
going down the savoury or the sweet path.
If you crush them at this point they will make great crumbles, which can be
used for cakes, salads, or in poultry stuffing and meat loaf (Yum!)
If you cut the cooked nuts in half, and peel off the skin, try dipping them
in melted cheese, pepper and garlic (or chocolate, depending on where you’re
I have cooked and crumbled chestnut, compressed and frozen it, which seems
to keep flavour quite well, perhaps this product could be dried and kept in
a jar at room temperature.
The most important thing is to start with good fresh chestnuts, I see them
as a seasonal food which should be enjoyed in their season, there’s plenty
of other things to be enjoyed the rest of the year!
If you want to store something, store pumpkins!
Best Regards, Nick B.
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