After collecting nearly 3 kilos worth of chestnuts just a week earlier and then another 9+ kilos a week later, you could say that we have chestnuts galore this autumn! 🙂
I think I was a little too greedy when I went foraging for chestnuts with my friend two weeks ago. On the other hand, it would have been a waste to leave all those chestnuts to rot if no one else would bother to collect them. Someone came to my favourite spot when we were there, but apart from him, the few people that my friend and I met during the trek through the forest were just taking walks and did not bother themselves with the free chestnuts in the forest! Hmmm …
And that was why my friend and I did not stop to gather the chestnuts until it was time to go back (as the afternoon was coming to an end) and as we really could not bend anymore and our bags were getting heavier! Had we gone there by car, I have no doubt that I might have been tempted to collect even more despite the backache! hehehe … 😀
So with a lot of chestnuts gathered from my jaunt, I had to think of ways to keep them as it would be impossible for the two of us to eat through the nearly 10 kilos of chestnuts within these 2 weeks!
So I read several articles on how to store chestnuts on the Internet …
… and ended up making several of these paperbags to store my hoard of wild chestnuts. I learnt that, in order to avoid chestnuts from getting mouldy and to help them last longer, they should be placed in paperbags before putting them in the fridge … and that was exactly what I did … after I had cleaned them.
In fact, I went even further and sorted the chestnuts by their size so that I could store them accordingly so as to make it easier when I would roast them (as the larger chestnuts generally take longer to cook than the smaller ones).
However, as some of you might know, I am not really into cooking … or baking either! But after having gathered so many kilos of chestnuts, the pressure is now on me to make something out of them for us to eat … apart from roasting them. After all, there is only so much roasted chestnuts that the hubby and I can eat each week! 🙂
So I did the only thing that I could think of … which I knew would keep longer than fresh chestnuts in the fridge … and that was to make flour from the chestnuts that I had collected! Of course, I first had to find some guidance on how to do so … by surfing the Internet … as I had never tried to make flour from chestnuts before – or from any other nuts!
It was simple enough to turn chestnuts into flour … except that it took a little more effort if I wanted to have it as fine as possible. It was when I tried to make biscuits from this flour that I learnt that it was a little too coarse than what was required in the recipe. So I tried grinding them again for a much longer time in the food processor … but it was impossible to get them fine enough with just a single grinding process. So I had no choice but to do it the tedious way.
I ran the flour through the sieve and then put the remaining flour that could not pass through the sieve back into the food processor to be ground again. I repeated the process several times until most of the flour was fine enough to go through the sieve … leaving only a small portion that remained coarse despite repeated grinding.
And here was the end result of all that repeated grinding and sieving. It might not be as fine as a store-bought flour … but at least it was fine enough to pass through the sieve! I did not throw the coarse remains of the flour but kept that, too.
And since the freshly ground flour felt a little moist …
… I left the flour to dry for a day or two (depending on the amount of sun that was available) … before storing it in plastic bags in the fridge. Quite tedious a process, was it not?
Do not forget that there was also the cutting and the roasting (which I decided to do using the oven instead of a flat pan as I normally would, so that I could roast a lot more chestnuts at the same time ) …
… as well as the peeling that had to be done before the grinding process. Fortunately for me, the hubby was kind enough to help with the peeling and with some of the cutting.
It was advisable to leave the peeled chestnuts overnight to dry before grinding them into flour. So the whole process of turning the chestnuts into flour took at least 2-3 days.
For info, I followed the instructions on how to make chestnut flour from this website (except for the extra step of sieving the ground flour), which includes a recipe on making chestnut biscuits. I tried making the biscuits using my home-made chestnut flour … and although it turned out to be more like a scone rather than the usual biscuit, it was quite delicious. It was even more delicious when I ate it with sambal tumis (Malay style cooked chilli sauce)! 😀
But … turning them into flour was not the only thing that I did with my hoard of wild chestnuts. As suggested by someone … and after having realised that quite a number of chestnut cake recipes required the use of chestnut purée … I, therefore, read information on how to make this purée. There are certainly a lot of different variations on how to make them on the internet. However, as usual … I chose the easiest method that I could find! 🙂
So I made this sweetened chestnut purée (one using roasted chestnuts and another using boiled chestnuts) … which I found to be very delicious just on its own …
… as well as this unsweetened version. I used steamed chestnuts for this version even though the recipe called for boiled chestnuts … just to see how it would turn out. When one has so many chestnuts in the fridge as I do, one can afford to experiment a little lah! hehehe … 😀
I still have not tried making chestnut bread using my home-made flour … but I had used it to make this traditional Italian chestnut cake (castagnaccio in Italian), which was quite easy to do. Since it only uses chestnut flour, olive oil, water, raisins, pine nuts, a pinch of salt and rosemary as its ingredients … it is, therefore, a very healthy cake. Although it was tasty enough as it is, I think it will be even tastier with a little sugar added.
I still have a few more kilos of raw chestnuts left in the fridge to turn into something. I will definitely make more flour and purée from them. However, next on my list to do will be to make chestnut butter.
Frankly, never in my dreams did I think that I would be making all these stuff … but life certainly has a strange way of unfolding sometimes! 🙂
- My forage jaunts : looking for more chestnuts …
- Fully – Montreux – Bouveret … in search of chestnuts …
- 19th edition of Fête de la Châtaigne at Fully …