Roasting chestnuts

Chigger

Les Hiddins
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Noticed some chestnuts being sold at a local supermarket and bought a quantity, it has been many long years since I have eaten roasted chestnuts. Indeed have not seen chestnuts for sale anywhere.
In medieval times chestnuts were a important source of food for poorer village folk, apart from being roasted could be ground to make a flour for bread or made into a soup. Meat for many people of that era was very expensive and read that chestnuts in some places made up 75% of their dietary intake.

At home set up the fire drum, loaded with kindling and lit the fire with flint and steel. While the fire was getting going scored the chestnuts, that is slice through the shell into the flesh so when heated they do not burst.

This task defeated my normal kitchen knives as the shells are very tough, the SAK did a reasonable job but rather the Dewey capeing knife with its short curved blade sliced through the shells with not to much effort.

After scoring washed the chestnuts. (next batch of chestnuts I roasted only made one cut, not the cross cut as shown).

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Put the chestnuts into a camping oven and set on the fire which by now had burnt down to coals. Cooked a piece of steak at the same time. Roasted the chestnuts for about 15 to 20 minutes .

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The final meal.

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Chestnuts are somewhat like potatoes to eat, bit more chewy texture with a rather sweeter nut taste. A very filling food and can understand why people in times past spent so much time gathering and storing chestnuts.

Quite enjoyed my meal of chestnuts they would be the sort of thing for a campout with a cast iron dutch oven on a fire.
 

Le Loup

John McDouall Stuart
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I love roasted chestnuts, my Father used to take me up to Goodwood Forest in West Sussex to collect nuts of all kinds, & we had a chestnut tree at the end of our driveway. Obviously not a native tree here, but occasionally I manage to find some.
Good post Chigger, brings back happy memories, thank you.
Regards, Keith.
 

Chigger

Les Hiddins
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Thanks everyone for your kind remarks, actually had a few meals with chestnuts which are good eating. Pity the supply of chestnuts is so spasmodic, do not often see them for sale.

As Keith observed chestnuts would be popular with youngsters and something for a campfire treat.

Remember my parents roasting chestnuts although Mother did not know they had to be scored before baking so there was bangs everywhere which gave no end of delight to us kids as dinner exploded.

Will keep the chestnuts and cauliflower soup in mind for next winter. Should be good and nutritious.
 

Chigger

Les Hiddins
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You can grow chestnuts (Castanea sativa) in Australia. I really don't remember seeing any on my travels.

https://www.daleysfruit.com.au/Nuts/chestnut.htm

For those in the Sydney area chestnuts can be bought at either Mt Wilson or Mt Irvine which are a easy drive along the scenic Bells Line of Road. Come to think of it, that is most likely where my parents bought them when we were kids as used to go there for picnics from time to time.


Other places with chestnut orchards, just do a google search
 

Howling Dingo

Richard Proenneke
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Would be a epic urban foraging food try to find some near me.
 

Randall

John McDouall Stuart
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Bugger me! My partner just told me there are some big trees where she works, and all the nuts are on the ground. Nobody collects them! Too late now I imagine, but next year....
 
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