No Chestnuts For Us! Harold Gets The Nuts!

image of chestnuts at Little House

No Chestnuts For Us! Harold Gets The Nuts!

No Chestnuts for us! Harold Gets The Nuts! After additional research we decided Harold gets the nuts with no competition.

Let me back up a bit and tell you the story that resulted in that decision. Little House is surrounded by trees. Wonderful shade trees. Two large maple trees, several aspen trees and a ginormous chestnut tree. The chestnut tree is also the home of Harold, our resident squirrel. He’s seen so frequently rushing around the yard gathering nuts that The Husband named him. Not a pet but a resident nonetheless, Harold appears to be a fixture. His winter grocery supply is in our back yard. Nuts.  In epic Costco proportions.

image of loaded chestnut branches no chestnuts for us Harold gets the nuts
Costco ~ squirrel style.

Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire. . .

I’m sure you all remember the song lyrics, “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” etc, etc. I recalled tasting roasted chestnuts once. At an open air market in Portland, Oregon. They were delicious. Having no clue how those street vendors achieved that great taste I needed to do some research.
Determined to beat Harold to at least “some” of the nuts, I spent about 1/2 hour gathering several dozen, intending to roast them and have a delicious and nutritious treat.

image of chestnuts prior to roasting No chestnuts for us Harold gets the nuts
Racing Harold I salvaged several dozen to try roasting.

Research came next. How do we even do this?? Several methods of processing were found online. One method was slicing an “X” on the flat side of the nut and roasting in the oven for 20-30 minutes. Another was to soak them in salt water for an hour and then proceed with the roasting process.

image of soaking chestnuts No Chestnuts for us Harold Gets The Nuts
Soaking for an hour in salt water prior to roasting.

The Husband and I decided to try both methods. While I researched The Husband patiently cut X’s in the tops of about 4-5 dozen nuts that I had picked up for this experiment.

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First Batch? Not What We Expected!

As the first batch came out of the oven we tentatively peeled and tasted a couple tiny pieces. Not a good taste at all and a very nasty aftertaste. That was the batch that had been roasted without soaking first. Maybe it was just that method that didn’t produce such a stellar result??

image of roasted chestnuts No Chestnuts for us Harold Gets The Nuts
First batch out of the oven! At this point we were anticipating yummy goodness!
image of interior of roasted chestnuts No Chestnuts for us Harold Gets The Nuts
Insides of the roasted chestnut. Taste? Yuck!!

The next batch had soaked for an hour in salt water and were then put in the oven to roast. While Batch #2 was roasting I continued researching and researching. What were we doing wrong? Why did ours taste nasty?? The Husband was, by this time, trying to kill the nasty aftertaste by drinking a beer.
Halloween Costumes

And In The Fine Print On Page 8,432

Yikes! I came across a comment that freaked me totally. There are TOXIC chestnuts!!! All the research I’d been doing about chestnuts and this was the FIRST MENTION that there were TOXIC chestnuts??? Wouldn’t you think that should be paragraph #1 of all information pertaining to the cooking and eating of chestnuts??

Apparently I’m the only one that thinks that as it most definitely wasn’t on any of the sites I’d already read. It was in fine print in about paragraph 95 of  page 8,432 of the info I was reading. How about some BRIGHT RED BOLD FACE type for this kind of information???

Before panicking and dialing poison control, I did a bit more research to ascertain if we did, in fact, have a toxic tree in our backyard or if ours was the edible variety. Oh, don’t you just know that we have the toxic variety!! I went to all the trouble of racing Harold for the nuts, cutting, soaking and cooking them? And I fed TOXIC chestnuts to The Husband and I?? Thankfully they tasted wretched so we each only ingested a small amount.

I went to all the trouble of racing Harold for the nuts, cutting, soaking and cooking them? And I fed TOXIC chestnuts to The Husband and I?? Click To Tweet

That whole business about how good chestnuts smell while they are roasting? Well, that might be the case with the edible ones, but the toxic ones? Yeah, not so much!!

image of Sweet Chestnut, the edible kind. No Chestnuts for us Harold Gets The Nuts
This is a SWEET Chestnut. The edible kind. Compare this exterior to the exterior of our chestnuts in the first photo. Ours, we learned, are HORSE chestnuts. And they’re TOXIC!

And Harold Gets The Nuts!

All nuts went into the trash. The back door was opened to air out the kitchen. The Husband finished his beer and quit complaining about the nasty aftertaste of the nuts. My reading revealed that we weren’t in need of poison control since we had only ingested a tiny amount of the toxic nuts.

image of dumping chestnuts into trash No Chestnuts for us Harold Gets The Nuts
The burial ceremony! All of them into the trash!

And that whole tree full of nuts? Yeah, Harold gets the nuts. All the nuts. With my compliments. He won’t have to worry about me racing him for them ever again. He’s got no competition for those nuts.

Hope you enjoy our adventures (and misadventures!) Thanks for following us. We always love to hear from you so please feel free to leave comments in the comment section below.

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  1. Reply

    Hilarious! Sounds totally like something I would do – and what IS up with no BOLD print TOXIC warnings?! Thank goodness you didn’t quit too soon on the research (as I probably would have!). Thank you for sharing.

      • NoniKay
      • October 11, 2017

      Thanks for your comments 🙂 So glad you enjoyed our story and yes, I’m also glad I kept researching!! I have since learned that most chestnut trees west of the Mississippi are, in fact, horse chestnuts! The toxic kind!! Next time I decide to cook something found in nature I’ll do more research first! 🙂

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