Saturday, 1 November 2014

Spiny Sweet Chestnuts

The Nights are drawing in. The clocks have gone back. It's getting dark as I cycle to and from work. However, even though it is raining more, it is still warm.
There are plenty of apples left in the trees about the city. Personally, I think that it is a bit of a shame to see all this lovely fruit going to waste, but I guess the wildlife will benefit. I'm still going to pick a few more big buckets full to press and add to my juice store.
Sweet Chestnuts seem to be falling early this year and many trees have already shed their spiny bounty. I don't know if this is due to the warm October weather that we have enjoyed or something to do with the hot Summer before it.
We always love this time of year-whatever the weather-the beautiful shades and colours of the leaves as they fall is the wonder before the winter. It always pays to make the most of the end of the harvest season and, in my opinion, there's no better way to do this than roasting chestnuts over a fire.
If you do not have the facility to build an open fire (my favourite), you can always use an oven to roast your chestnuts. I often use an old barbecue and simply build a small fire using dry twigs, it doesn't need to last a long time.
I did hear that even the microwave can be used, and I tried this method at home as an experiment. It works, of course. However, it does not have the same romance as a fire with real flames, flickering through the gloomy dusk.
I much prefer a real fire because it gives a traditional feel for the time of year, supplies comfort as the nights draw in, and also because the flames partially burn the shells, making them easier to remove.
Whatever method you use to cook your nuts... Please... Remember, Remember to slit or cut the shells before putting them to the flames... Otherwise they will explode, just like the exciting fireworks that will soon accompany the bonfires all over this country on Guy Fawkes Night.

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