Michigan State University Extension
Preserving Food Safely - 01600673


     Chestnuts  are  easily grown in southern  Michigan  and
usually  are  of Chinese or Korean origin.   They are  quite
similar to the native American chestnut,  but are  generally
resistant  to  the  blight  that  killed    American  trees.
They  should  not be confused with horse chestnut  which  is
closely  related  to  the buckeye and  not  recommended  for
eating.   Chestnuts available in stores during the fall  are
usually of European origin.                                 

     After  picking,  chestnuts  are generally seasoned  for
several  days  to  remove  excess  moisture  and  to  retard
formation of mold while being stored or shipped. This may be
done by spreading the nuts 1 or 2 layers deep on trays  made
of 1/2-inch mesh hardware cloth.   If seasoned 1 to 2  weeks
under warm, dry windy conditions, the nuts may dry more than
desired,   especially if  additional  drying  occurs  during
storage.   If the  shell  can  be pushed in  a  considerable
amount when squeezed between the thumb  and forefinger,  the
nut  may have dried  too  much.   Best  results are obtained
with plump nuts that have not been subject to mold.         

     If  chestnuts  are  to be cooked within  several  weeks
after picking,  they do not need to be air dried.   If  they
are  to  be eaten raw,  they generally need at least  a  few
weeks  for  the starch to  slowly  change to   sugar.   This
process  occurs in both air drying and refrigerated storage.
If  the nuts  are picked  and  eaten  immediately, some  may
have an astringent  taste while  others  may not.  Chestnuts
of  Korean  origin  tend to  be  more  palatable  when green
than chestnuts of Chinese origin.                           

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