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chestnuts

I'm sneaking in a quick entry about the chestnuts--I always know to go gathering them on the fair weekend. This is because, the first year we lived where we do now, we walked home from the fair, and we walked through a grove, and it turned out to be a chestnut grove, and there were chestnuts all over the ground. Not horsechestnuts (pretty as those are), but sweet edible chestnuts. 日本語で「栗」(くり)と言うの。(That just says that in Japanese they're called "kuri.")

You have not experienced the bounty of nature's free gifts until you've picked up chestnuts from underneath chestnut trees. There are SO MANY. You can fill bags and bags. Then you take them home and roast them--what a treat!

These trees, by the way, are probably some sort of a hybrid--probably Manchurian chestnut and American chestnut. Plus, they're semi-dwarf.

one of the trees...
the chestnut tree

spiny case, with chestnuts still in...
here be chestnuts

spiny case still all closed up...
American-Manchurian chestnut hybrid-the spiny case
(it has the look of a flash photo because, in fact, the flash went off--it was so early in the morning that the camera decided it didn't have enough light, otherwise)

here are the fallen chestnuts on the ground. The spiny cases fall down too, a lot of the time. You can see one in the lower left-hand corner of the photo.
chestnuts on the ground, waiting to be gathered up

and finally-- a blurry picture of a small group of chestnuts, sitting on a bench
sweet chestnuts

P.S. If you have to be editing something boring, it's great to munch on crunchy cereal as a distraction. Also, practicing juggling. Also, hanging laundry. Also, checking LJ, e-mail, and, occasionally, AIM (though I'm not so good with that, I confess...)

Comments

( 16 comments — Leave a comment )
deponti
Oct. 4th, 2006 10:35 am (UTC)
OOOOH, I am so glad you decided to post this chestnut post!
asakiyume
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:50 am (UTC)
My pleasure! And your comment is helping me get through this editing. (I check my e-mail... oh look, a comment! yay! I shall have to respond now!<--like that)
merebrillante
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:14 am (UTC)
Ah, I love roasted chestnuts!
asakiyume
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
Mmm, I know! They're such a treat.
sin_agua
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:26 am (UTC)
WOW!! They're beautiful! I've only eaten roasted chestnuts once in my life, and I had to go to England near Yule season to do that.

Closest I've come to experiencing this sort of natural nutty bounty was when I was a kid - we had pecan trees. I'd fill several large plastic trash bags with them. Now I live far away and pecans are ten bucks a pound at the store and they're not as tasty, either. :(

I want to learn to juggle. I have a kit with three bean bag balls, but so far, I'm a dismal failure.
asakiyume
Oct. 4th, 2006 11:49 am (UTC)
juggling
Oh, i stink bigtime too. For the longest time I couldn't even keep those three beanbags up in the air for one complete session (i.e., having my hands touch each of the three bags once). Now I can sometimes manage... five touches (still not quite managing all of them twice). But it's fun trying.

Oh wow, pecans. I read in a book about in colonial days, when there were HUGE pecan trees. I'd **love** to have fresh pecans. In my alternative reality, I have orchards and also groves of nut trees, and sugar maples for maple syrup, and (etc.)
wakanomori
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:24 pm (UTC)
Re: juggling
amen to the juggling -- encourages keeping the floor empty (so you can find the dropped ones), back exercise (picking up the dropped ones), fills time you could be eating/waiting for the kettle to boil, takes your eyes off the screen, and provides the perfectly honest busy excuse (phone called request, to which you reply "Oh, I really can't, my hands are full, I'm juggling three things (just don't say beanbags) right now")

and pecans . . . Where might we plant one? (or two, if they're the sort of tree that needs a friend) Maybe as bandits somewhere near where the chestnuts grow?
asakiyume
Oct. 4th, 2006 01:56 pm (UTC)
Re: juggling
Alas, pecans, I think, prefer a warmer climate than ours. And meanwhile we have to find room for two pawpaws--and the increasing currant collection--and how about quinces?
threadwalker
Oct. 4th, 2006 02:17 pm (UTC)
Yummy! And so beautiful too. :)
travelertrish
Oct. 4th, 2006 02:52 pm (UTC)
How do you roast a chestnut? I live in the pecan zone, in North Carolina, but don't know zhere any neglected trees live.
asakiyume
Oct. 4th, 2006 03:32 pm (UTC)
You heat the oven to about 400 (or if you're Bing Crosby you get the fire stoked up) and put slits in the chestnuts with a knife (to let steam escape--otherwise they can explode, which is funny). Then you stick them in the oven for about 10-15 minutes. Then you can peel off the skins and mmm, eat them!

I'm going to go to North Carolina one day. It sounds beautiful!
travelertrish
Oct. 4th, 2006 03:37 pm (UTC)
Well, just come visit us! We don't live in the most beautiful part, but we can easily be persuaded to take short road trips!
redcoast
Oct. 4th, 2006 04:05 pm (UTC)
Mmmm. Ah.
miafedup
Oct. 5th, 2006 10:39 pm (UTC)
I want to roast 'em! Yummers.
badmantra
Oct. 6th, 2006 06:42 pm (UTC)
Hello.

How do you roast them? How do you know when they are ready?
I see them around allot, but only in there well designed self defence mechanism, never displaying themselves in the top picture. What do you do with them, leave them out to much? Or do you have to eat them immediately? Do they go well in cerial?
asakiyume
Oct. 6th, 2006 10:01 pm (UTC)
I roast them in a medium to hot oven (originally I used a very hot oven, but just yesterday I saw some directions online for using a medium hot one, and that worked better. Let's see... about 190 degrees C ought to do it. Make sure you put a slit in them to let steam out. A box-cutter works great for putting in the slit--or a sharp knife. When we lived in England my in-laws also had a thing like a box on a stick, with holes in the lid of the box, all made of metal, and you put chestnuts in it and put it in the fireplace to roast them. (But probably in a flat you don't have a fireplace!)

Yeah, then we just leave them out to munch. But I was thinking they might be good in a pecan pie recipe, in place of the pecan (but I haven't tried yet). Pecan pie is easy--VERY sweet--have you tried it? I can send you a recipe if you want. And I bet chestnuts would be great cooked with rice in a risotto or something (but I haven't tried that either--I've only snacked on them!)
( 16 comments — Leave a comment )

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