Did you know the once mighty American chestnut trees were virtually wiped out by a deadly blight in the early 20th century? Fortunately, a renewed interest has been growing to save and replant native chestnut trees across the US. The American Chestnut Foundation is working to restore the American chestnut tree to its native range within the woodlands of the eastern United States. You can order chestnut seeds or seedlings from the foundation and help the movement!
You will be astounded by the size of the native American chestnut trees when you see the old photograph on the American Chestnut Cooperators’ Foundation. Many older American pre-blight cookbooks contain recipes for chestnut dishes. If you’re a history fan, take a look at this recipe for Chestnut Croquettes, found in Fannie Merritt Farmer’s Original 1896 Boston Cooking-School Cook Book.
Chestnuts are rich in nutrients, low in calories compared to other nuts, and provide an excellent gluten-free option for those with wheat allergies. Fresh chestnuts are a cool season crop, generally available in groceries from October through March. Roasted, jarred chestnuts, chestnut flour and puree, however, are available throughout the year. Try some now in this Chestnut Pancake recipe!