Urban Foraging: Chestnuts

sept_chestnutsby Jill Lightner

After chestnut blight wiped out an estimated 4 billion American chestnut trees a century ago, this country lost the annual chestnut-craving madness that hits much of Europe and Asia. While researchers hope to release blight-resistant almost-all-American chestnuts into the world within a decade, there are a few successful chestnut farms in Washington, making other varieties of this short-season treat worth seeking out this October.

You can find Chinese chestnuts and hybrid nuts locally, both of which are nearly as sweet as the gone-but-not-forgotten American variety; either kind can be eaten fresh, dried and stored, or ground into gluten-free flour. Try them raw, roast them and eat them warm, or save them for holiday baking, but limited supplies mean you should order early.

Allen Creek Farms: www.chestnutsonline.com

Colossal Orchards: www.chestnutsusa.com

Washington Chestnut Company: www.washingtonchestnut.com

Burnt Ridge Farms and Nursery: www.burntridgenursery.com

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