Monday, 10 October 2011

Chestnuts Roasting on a Pot Bellied BBQ

Apparently the second Ice Age is coming. Weather lore has it that when acorns cover the ground in October, snow will cover the land by Christmas. At the Urbane Forager, we say  that you know it is autumn (even if you are still wearing shorts), when you can smell roasting chestnuts.
First, get your fire/BBQ burning well - you know the score, dry tinder then small sticks first, piled over scrunched paper in a wig-wam shape. Followed by, well in this case more small dry sticks - you dont want it burning all night do you?
Once you have a good fire blazing away, add your chestnuts - let the flames lick at the shells, this helps to remove the pith later.
The nuts soon start to sweat and sizzle - I hope you cut them first or they will beging to explode about now... Turn them over until they look black all over or start to spit, whistle and bubble. This will not take very long.
Remove the blackened husks from Dante's inferno. Metal BBQ type tongs might be better than your delicate fingers at this point. It looks bad I know but it will be OK (probably)...
Peel off the burnt shells (let them cool a tad first), remove any pith you can get at and there you have it/them. The Head Chef insists on adding salt at this point but personally I think they taste fine as nature intened, only cooked.

Some people do eat sweet chestnuts raw but I don't.


  1. I'm really lucky in that I live in rural France and a lot of my foraging is done in my garden and my friends. Yesterday it was about 5kg of the most beautiful fat chestnuts. Now to store them...!
    This morning I picked and ate 2 wild strawberries still cold with frost. The most delicious thing <i have eaten today! Amazing what can be found in the hedgerows in October!

  2. Hi
    Nice to see we have readers in Europe too now. How will you store your chestnuts? We need your top tips and an idea of how long they will keep using your methods.
    Wild strawberries are indeed lovely to forage. We will have lots more next year.
    the Urbane Forager