Sweet chestnut foraging

Friday, October 12, 2018

In years gone by we've had mixed success with foraging sweet chestnuts. The roasted delights you buy on the Christmas markets are plump and beautiful but in the majority of our foraging expeditions the fruits of those spiky shells are significantly smaller than their counterparts.



I'm not entirely sure when the best time to attempt finding the best ones dawns. Is it the first ones to drop? Or the ones that ripen on the tree then spill out onto the floor or the oldest hanging around on the forest floor? No idea. Either way, it's easiest to pick shelled whole nuts, then the partially opened shells and finally to prise open a sealed shell. They're prickly and the spines are dense. Feet or a couple of sticks are your best bet. They are ripe when brown.
We stumbled across a pretty decent fall of nuts so were able to pick and choose a little more. There's no point roasting tiny ones, they shrivel up to dust.


C cuts a cross into each one to avoid an explosion but even so we did have a couple of casualties. The inner shin which is like a hairy thin layer of card can be eaten if your nut is being a nuisance and refuses to peel off it's coats. Obviously roasting in an open fire would be most poetic but failing that, the oven will suffice.
There are plenty of recipes which revolve around this seasonal wonder but I prefer to savour them just as they are, plus a sprinkle of salt.
Are you foraging chestnuts this year?

Take care,
Sophie

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2 comments

  1. To be honest, I've not tried them for years apart from the ones you get with roast dinner or stuffing. I've not seen any near me. X

    ReplyDelete
  2. I should go foraging! I like them just as they are, I don't even mind if they're not roasted.
    xx

    ReplyDelete

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