High Walkway, Heygate Estate (4), London, SE17

Inside this spiky shell is a sweet chestnut.

This one won’t yet be ripe for eating, but those that fall from the trees in a few weeks time (late October), can be cooked up and turned into some tasty snacks.

They can easily be roasted, but be careful! If you don’t first slice a big X on the flat side, before roasting, after a while they will ferociously explode out of their shells…although this does indicate they are fully roasted and ready for munching, so it can be a good idea to leave one non-sliced, as it will act as a timer.

Alternatively, they can be made into soup, or cooked up into some delicious sweets or jam. Here are some recipes. I think I will go collecting when they are ripe and make some Marron Glaces for my Mum. She really loves them.


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  1. Steph says:

    Good heavens Anna, not only is this a wonderfully spiky photograph, this is the most practical advice that I have ever seen on the cooking of chestnuts. I suppose I should not be surprised that you know about jam making and marrons glacés and how to roast chestnuts safely, but I am. It’s really a very nice surprise, although not as nice as the one your Mum will get when you visit her in the autumn.

    • anna says:

      Hi Steph, thanks!
      However, as much as I would like to take credit for being full of chestnut knowledge, in fact I learnt most of it very recently from a little book that I picked up in the library: Richard Mabey’s Food for Free, as well as from the amazing internet.
      I am looking forward to making marrons glacés though; the recipe looks a little long-winded, but exciting nevertheless.

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