Get foraging - sweet chestnuts
Updated: Mar 16, 2019
It’s late October which means sweet chestnuts are falling and can be easily foraged across the country. Sweet chestnuts must be one of the perfect foraged foods for a campfire, simply roast them in the ashes for a low fat and high vitamin C snack!
Where to find them:
Sweet chestnut trees can be found easily all over the UK (although less so in Scotland) and are commonplace in our parks and woodlands. They can be identified by their single, spear shaped leaves with a serrated edge.
NOTE: it’s important to differentiate between the inedible toxic horse chestnut - here are the key things to look for:
The husks - sweet chestnuts have a husk with very sharp long spikes which is pale green (as opposed to the short stubby spikes of the horse chestnut).
The tip of the nut - sweet chestnuts have a distinguishing “tassel” on the tip of the nut which is lacking from the more rounded horse chestnut.
Number of nuts - sweet chestnuts tend to have 3 or more nuts per husk, whereas horse chestnuts tend to have one, sometimes two.
Sweet chestnuts tend to fall in late October. Once fallen the nuts can be prised out of their prickly husks by splitting underfoot, or by carefully using one of your camp tools.
As stated above it is important to make sure you differentiate between the sweet chestnut and the inedible horse chestnut, so make sure you read the identification tips.
By far the best way of cooking chestnuts is roasting them over an open fire. Slit the skins (or they will all explode!) bar one and roast in the ashes. When your un-slit chestnut explodes, the others will be ready!
Chestnuts can be roasted in the oven (beware the exploding one here!), or alternatively can be made into puree by boiling in a light stock for around 40 minutes and liquidising.
For something different, try a sweet chestnut soup, as suggested by Foraged Foods - that’s certainly what we’re going to try with ours! We’ll let you know the results…
Check out the Foraged Foods Chestnut Soup Recipe HERE.
Let us know what you do with yours!