Roasting chestnuts … and what has happened to American Chestnut trees?

American Chestnuts. Photo by Pixabay

American Chestnuts. Photo by Pixabay

So how do you roast chestnuts?

With a sharp knife, make an incision through the smooth outer skin and textured inner skin on the rounded side of each nut. This allows steam to escape and prevents the nuts from bursting during roasting. Roast the nuts over an open fire in a wire popcorn basket or special chestnut roasting pan, shaking periodically, for 15-20 minutes. Allow the nuts to cool slightly before peeling and eating. Chestnuts can also be roasted in the oven after scoring, at 375 ° degrees for 15-25 minutes. Place them in a shallow pan, and turn them over mid-way through the roasting time.

The information on roasting chestnuts was included in the following article written by Sarah Browning, Extension Educator. 

Is Emerald Ash Borer the Next Chestnut Blight?

“Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose….” We’re all familiar with this popular holiday song, but have you ever wondered how to roast chestnuts? Or exactly what a chestnut tree looks like? Why don’t we see them growing in our neighborhoods?

Once, American chestnut was a major component of eastern forests from Maine to Michigan and south to Alabama and Mississippi. Called the ‘Redwood of the East’ because of the tremendous size of mature trees, American chestnuts made up approximately 25% of forests in the eastern United States. When chestnuts bloomed in spring, the Appalachian mountains appeared covered in snow. The trees were an important part of the rural economy, as a source of highly rot-resistant lumber, and the nuts a major food source for wildlife. Trainloads of chestnuts were sent to eastern cities to be roasted and sold by street vendors during the holidays. However, today the American chestnut has been reduced to merely an under-story shrub in eastern forests.

More…. Read the entire article on the Nebraska Extension in Lancaster County Horticulture website: Is Emerald Ash Borer the Next Chestnut Blight