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
||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
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
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.