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Sweet Chestnut

Edible Edible Autumn Autumn

One of the best of the Autumn nuts and well worth the effort of collecting, pealing and cooking.

Hedgerow Type
Common Names Sweet Chestnut, Spanish Chestnut
Scientific Name Castanea sativa
Season Start Sep
Season End Nov
Please note that each and every hedgerow item you come across may vary in appearance to these photos.

Leaves

The leaves are ovate with pointed serrated edges ending in a point.

Male Flowers

Male flowers grow on long, yellow catkins that appear from July to August.

Female Flowers

Female flowers grow at the base of the catkins and look a little like the future spiny cases for the nuts themselves which is what they develop into.

Nuts

Produces one to three nuts that in some Autumns are big enough to be worth the effort of preparation.

Bark

Has a mesh or reticulation pattern spiralling up the trunk. Can be smooth on less mature trees.

Habitat

Along tree lined streets, parks and mixed woodland.

Possible Confusion

The Horse Chestnut or Conker Tree can look similar but the spines on the nut sheath don’t hurt as much as they do on the Sweet Chestnut.

Taste

The nuts have a wonderful taste that can be used in both sweet and savoury dishes.

Frequency

Common.

Collecting

The best way to collect the nuts is to roll them underfoot until released from the painfully spiny case. The nuts can be eaten raw or cooked.

COMMENTS

2 comments for Sweet Chestnut

  1. Kent says:

    Hi Guys,
    Always interested in your emails. Sweet chestnuts, what tips do you have for removing the shell and inner skin and how do you cook them up? We have a garden full of them but most are not particularly big so we end up dumping them and it always upsets me, however this year our neighbour has given us a bag of huge chestnuts so I have to do something with them. I’ve searched the net but hopefully you have better tips.

    Kind regards and keep up the good work,
    Kent

    1. Eric Biggane says:

      Hi Kent, my method is to place your foot on the husks and roll them underfoot to release the inner then painfully cut and peel the fruit or put a slice in the outer scin and roast for about 15-20 mins.

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