Saturday, 26 October 2019

Sweet Chestnuts

Chestnuts are great.  I love a big of foraging and preserving. As we watched the Lleyn Sheep move around the park, I noticed there were frequently a couple close by the kitchen under the Chestnut tree.

Under the spreading Sweet Chestnut Tree

Came a nibbling Lleyn three

Out I came to have a look,

Before long I too was hooked

One for me and three for the sheep

Bah Bah thank you, pretty white sheep

Last year I very nearly gave up the Chestnut hunt, on account of weakening and burnt fingers!  I just had to pick a pocketful, straight from the tree, just for their beauty.  There were none on the ground, due to those three sheep who had developed a taste for these nuts.  What to do with them?

I poured some boiling water over them, and had them sitting there whilst I contemplated what I was going to cook for supper.  We only ate at home this once, since I had bought some lovely Welsh Salt Marsh lamb from Tuckers in the Mumbles .  A quick visit to a nearby greengrocer yielded a tight fresh Romanesco and other goodies were the supporting acts.

I found the Chestnuts were very easy to peel with just this five minute or so soak in boiling water, and they were not so hot as to cause finger fatigue...Then I cooked them separately in a frying pan with a little butter, chopped rosemary and thyme, a gift from the walled Kitchen Garden at Penrice.  I chose to add neither salt nor sugar.  Some were served alongside the lamb, and some I had with yogurt and honey....delicious.

A little further hunt yielded a few was a sunny and warm week, and you could almost hear the burrs open.

Back home I experimented further.  After removing the shell, I steamed the Chestnuts.  Not all the pellicle came off, but having nibbled a few, felt thy were quite OK to eat.

Finished off further with a light roasting in oil with added herbs, then into the freezer.  These can then be used in dishes, taking as few as required since they are loose frozen, though stored all together in a box.

From the above one small jar has been bottled with oil...topped up with some of the roasted bay, rosemary and thyme.


  1. Salt Marsh lamb is something I have always fancied trying, Sadly no one sells it around here. Impressive experiments with the chestnuts.

    1. Salt Marsh Lamb is the king of meats...I remember it being served with great panache at an Easter Lunch near St Malo in a restaurant. The whole room stood up to applaud the serving of this course. I have found a source near me which sells Salt Marsh Lamb from Somerset!