Friday, March 5, 2010

Drying chestnuts

Drying chestnuts is useful because they do not store well otherwise. A high moisture content means that they will start drying out, unless in ideal conditions. Even in ideal conditions they only keep for weeks, not months. Dried and stored in a sealed container chestnuts will keep for up to a year.

You will need to soak dried chestnuts in boiling water for 12 hours to cook (boil) them as you would fresh ones for around 20 minutes to chop or mash for for eating. You can grind roasted chestnuts into flour using, say, a nut mill. Apparently they make delicious pancakes. I'll let you know when I try later this month after we visit the chestnut farm (as detailed in blog below).

Chestnuts Australia Inc. advise that: 'Using a conventional oven, chestnut halves should be dried on a wire rack at about 125°C for up to 10 hours. (Fan forced ovens take less time, so test for dryness after 8 hours.)' If you have a drier, you will need to halve freshly picked chestnuts with a cleaver and place on drier trays cut side down. After being at a medium heat for 8 to 10 hours, the shell comes off easily and the pellicle can also be taken off relatively easily too.

Let's know how you go.

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BLUE MOUNTAINS FRUIT CALENDAR

We can harvest a wide range of fruits and nuts locally each season.

Local fruit and/or nut gardeners are invited to make additions or suggest modifications to the following work-in-progress compiled by Lizzie Connor.


SPRING HARVEST

Across the mountains: loquat, mulberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late spring) raspberry

Best in the lower mountains: avocado, jaboticaba, lemonade


SUMMER HARVEST

Across the mountains: apricot, blueberry, boysenberry, cherry, currant (red, black, white), gooseberry, kumquat, loganberry, loquat, mulberry,nectarine, peach, plum, raspberry, rhubarb, strawberry and (in late summer) almond, apple, fig, hazelnut, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), pomegranate, youngberry

Best in lower mountains:lemon (Eureka), lemonade, lime, mandarin, orange, persimmon (non-astringent) and (in late summer) avocado, babaco, macadamia, rockmelon, wampee, watermelon

Best in upper mountains: jostaberry, lemon (Meyer), persimmon (astringent)


AUTUMN HARVEST

Across the mountains: almond, apple, chestnut, feijoa, fig, grape, hazel, kiwi fruit, kumquat, medlar, olive, passionfruit, pear (incl. nashi), plum, quince, raspberry (some), rhubarb, strawberry, strawberry guava, walnut

Best in lower mountains: avocado, babaco, cherimoya, grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), macademia, monstera deliciosa, orange, pine nut, pistachio, rockmelon, tamarillo, walnut, watermelon, white sapote

Best in upper mountains: lemon (Meyer), mandarin (Satsuma)


WINTER HARVEST

Across the mountains: apple, hazelnut, kiwi fruit, kumquat, pear (incl. nashi)

Best in lower mountains: grapefruit, lemon (Eureka), orange, tangelo

Best in upper mountains: avocado (Bacon), lemon (Meyer)