Friday, September 11, 2009

Chestnut Roast

Oh mercy. The ground at Client #1's was littered with the hard spiny burrs that fall from the Chestnut trees. Lots of them. You do not want to even think about touching them in any way. They are very spiny, very sharp and very nasty.

I looked up and the trees were full of the still green burrs in addition to the ones that were already open and dispensing the nuts. And this was a new revelation. The nuts come free of the burrs all on their own. I had wondered how much pain would have been involved when this tree was a major food source for man and animals in the mountains of North Carolina and the nuts were encased in a package like that.

This is the first real crop of Chestnuts I have seen in the two years, now the third fall season of working at Client # 1's. All I had seen before were a few remnant burrs that reached out and stabbed me while working in the garden.

Four tall Chestnut trees, Castanea species unknown are in the back corner of the garden. They are not likely to be the American Chestnut, C. dentata since the fungus Endothia parasitica would most likely have attacked them by now. They could be the Chinese Chestnut, Castanea mollissima or a hybrid of that species.

Not only was the ground littered with spiny burrs, there were shiny brown chestnuts scattered among the danger. I carefully gathered them up.

I'm gonna roast me some chestnuts. I went on the internet to find out how.

The American Chestnut Foundation is headquartered in Asheville, NC and is dedicated to restoring the American Chestnut back to its rightful place in the forest and economy of the region. Visit their site if you would like to know more.


Lola said...

Love those chestnuts. I use to go into work early just so I could stop & pick up the nuts before daylight. I did it in the car head lights. lol If I waited till I got off work I wouldn't find a single one. I did boil some, fixed some in the oven & froze some in their shell. I was told that if I didn't do something with them fast that they would have a worm in them. Sure enough they did as I had left some in fridge a little too long. I don't know if it was the tree or the area or what but they did have worms in them. You might like to look into it.
And I did learn how they will attack you if you don't know what you are doing. lol I did learn how to use my feet to pop them out of the sticky burs.
N.C. was a learning experience as well as a happy time for me.

Anonymous said...

Let's just hope that its "rightful place" is no where near bare feet.

I can relate. I've got three Liquidambars in my front yard. Thorny seed pods are a constant annoyance.

Nalani said...

I think you are supposed to roast chestnuts on an open fire while Jack Frost is nipping at something- nose or toes or ?? XXOOXX

Lisa at Greenbow said...

Oh yummy, what a treat you have there. A friend of mine used to have a chestnut tree of some sort. They moved so we don't have chestnuts any more.

Siria said...

Those look good! I have never roasted chestnuts before, but I love them. Enjoy!

Anonymous said...

Huh, I never knew they opened on the tree. I always thought we had some mighty brave squirrels! I always have to collect those suckers and throw them over the fence, b/c they play havoc with my poor dog's feet.
Frankly I'd be just as happy not to have the tree, but it's big; sigh.