So I went out to the woods today and collected some chestnuts. It’s a particularly good year this year, but a forager never reveals their best spots, except possibly to their immediate family, so suffice to say that it was somewhere in south west England…

This was what two people managed to collect in about an hour – 2.6kg!


More after the jump…

This is what you’re looking for


Wear sturdy shoes, turn it over, open it up and given a bit of luck it will still contain some of these


Pick them out…


Who said pretty nails and foraging couldn’t go together?

Keep looking for these…


Please note that sweet chestnuts are different to horse chestnuts (conkers). The former is delicious, but the latter is best left for children’s games. Make sure your chestnuts have a distinctive white tuft.

Then wash / wipe them, and if you intend to keep them for any time then leave them to dry in a single layer. The small ones are great for stews, and by drying them out they can be available all winter. Remove any with holes (they contain maggots) or which otherwise don’t look great. I lost about 20% of the harvest that way, but the harvest that was done a couple of days after a big storm saw only a 10% loss.


Any which you don’t want to save can be roasted whole. Prick each one, and put them in an oven on 180C or so. Leave a couple unpricked – when they explode, the others are done. Peel with your fingers, dip in a little salt, and enjoy!


Happy chestnutting!

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3 thoughts on “Chestnutting

  1. Wonderful, I didn’t think about collecting the nuts, but you’re right it’s a fabulous year for all the nuts. Might look today and see if the squirrels have left us any!

  2. That is SO cool. I wouldn’t know which ones are Ok to eat though….

    • So long as you have the right species (look like conkers but have the little tufts on) then all you need to do is avoid ones with holes in (indicates maggots) or strips of shell taken off (something else has chewed them) or which otherwise look a bit manky then there’s not really much that can go wrong. It’s not like picking mushrooms where getting it slightly wrong can kill you!

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