Thursday, September 27, 2007

An Old Chestnut



I am so excited that "other" people are reading this blog (other than my husband and his kind relatives, that is). As is becoming apparent to them (I already knew this, of course), I have no idea what I am talking about much of the time. I was really hoping that this blog would take on more of a bulletin-board-type aspect where people could share what they know in the form of comments so that all of us who are trying to eat local food could do so more easily and with more knowledge.

So, here is an example of how I am struggling along with limited knowledge. At the Joseph King stand at the East Liberty Farmer's Market the other day, I saw some nuts. I had no idea what they were, so I asked. Chestnuts. I did not buy them for reasons having to do with a wagon, a two year old and some missing nectarines, but anyway. . .The next day, my kids and I were walking up to Blue Slide park and I saw what I thought were the same nuts on the ground!

I couldn't believe my luck. No, really. I couldn't believe it. So, I picked one up to bring home, and went to look on the internet. It looked just like the pictures, but I am too skeptical to believe that real, actual food would just be falling out of the sky. So, I brought my identifying pictures ttp://www.masschestnut.org/basicTreeID.php and went back to check the tree. I'll save you the suspense. It is a horse chestnut and the nuts are either bitter or poisonous.


However, real chestnuts are available at the farmers' markets these days and as is usually the case, Marlene Parrish wrote about them and how to use them in the Pittsburgh Post Gazette. http://www.post-gazette.com/pg/05293/591378-34.stm. (Every time I think I've discovered something I realize again that Marlene Parrish has been there first--- she knows everything about everything eating local!) And here is another site which describes ways to store the chestnuts and many different options for cooking them, none of which I have tried. http://www.oldhouseweb.com/gardening/garden/03900044.shtml. I hope to. And, if you four readers out there have any suggestions, please share them!

1 comment:

Ray said...

I just happened across your blog entry while searching for something else, and felt compelled to reply, since I immediately recognised the pictures you posted as being of Conkers (Horse Chestnuts).

I grew up in England, where we played "Conkers" every year... which you will find explained here: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Conker (and I apologise if this doesn't turn out to be clickable).

And yes, there is a world of difference between Horse Chestnuts and (Sweet) Chestnuts, as you quickly discovered.