Three Chestnuts, ready to fall from the bur at harvest time

Our 2013 U-Pick Chestnut Season is over

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Chestnut Facts to Know


Chestnut 101 - facts to know

  Where can I buy Chestnuts?
The 2010 Chestnut Farms harvest is just starting.  Fresh chestnuts will be available soon.  For more details click on The Chestnut Store at Winkel Chestnut Farm.
 
  Like popcorn, a chestnut is a closed shell with a moisture trapped inside.
When heated the moisture can forcefully pop the nut open....
when cooking chestnuts always slit the shell first to allow the steam pressure to escape.  Otherwise the nut will burst with a small explosion!

 

  Storage is not the same as most nuts.
The chestnut has a high carbohydrate content; more like a potato than most of our common (high fat) nuts.  Storage in a cool and moist environment is recommended.   Temperature just above freezing is best.  For home use we are  currently keeping our chestnuts in the lower section of the refrigerator in a sealed food storage bag.

 

  What happened to chestnuts in the United States?
Several hundred years ago the tall American Chestnut was the dominant tree in the Appalachian Mountain range. 
In the late 1800's Chinese Chestnut trees were brought into the United States for experimental plantings.  Unfortunately the imported trees carried a fungus to which the American Chestnut trees had no resistance.  The result was that the American Chestnut died off throughout the range where it occurred most densely (the fungus could spread from tree to tree).
The American Chestnut remains in isolated locations, but no longer stands as king of the forest.

 

  Construction:
The outer shell of the chestnut is quite thin and easy to cut with a knife.  Color varies  from light brown to almost black.

The nut inside is covered by a light papery skin called the pellicle.  The pellicle may peel freely from the nut, or may be embedded in convolutions of the chestnut meat and be difficult to separate from the chestnut.

The meaty inner portion of the nut may be smooth and hence separate easily from the pellicle.  Or, the surface may be convoluted like a walnut and may be difficult to separate from the pellicle.  The major impact of this form is in ease of cooking with the nut.

 

  Interested in growing chestnuts commercially?
Contact Dr. Dennis Fulbright at Michigan State University.  Ask him for information regarding commercial nut growing activities and the Midwest Nut Producers Council.
See our Links page for other recommended contacts.

 

  Want more details on chestnuts and other nuts?
Go to our LINKS page, and click on Northern Nut Growers Association.

 

   

 

 

 

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