Happy Thanksgiving!

I hope everyone had a wonderful Thanksgiving with family and friends. Over the course of the weekend, I’ve made two interesting food discoveries – about chestnuts and pumpkins.

Josh’s parents have a great big chestnut tree in their front yard. This year, they managed to collect a few handfuls of chestnuts before the squirrels got to them. With the instructions on how to roast chestnuts in hand, freshly printed from a google search, the experiment began. While waiting for the chestnuts, I raved about the roasted chestnuts I used to eat in Hong Kong, freshly roasted in hot sand. They were delicious. When the chestnuts were finally ready, we all had a taste – the chestnuts were bitter and awful. Nothing like what I remembered. As it turns out, we had horse chestnuts, not the edible chestnuts. After a quick search on the internet, we learned that: horse chestnuts are slightly poisonous to humans, best left for the squirrels; the chestnuts with much spikier shells are the edible kind.

horse chestnut

Horse chestnuts. source: wikipedia


Chestnuts. source: wikipedia

As part of our CSA share last week, we got a pie pumpkin. I’ve never made pumpkin pie with fresh pumpkin before, so I looked it up on the internet. Did you know that canned pumpkin puree is not made from pumpkins? It’s Dickenson Field squash, a squash that’s cross pollinated with the butternut squash. It has tan colour skin and bright orange flesh. It tastes just like pumpkin to me, but then again, I’ve never tasted “real” pumpkin.

Dickinson squash

Dickenson squash. source: Long Island Seed Project

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joshDavidStephanie Recent comment authors
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Thanks for this! I love horse chestnuts, I think they’re beautiful, and now I know not to eat them! (Go squirrels go!)


Horse chestnuts can be eaten – they contain a poison, so need to be prepared first. Personally, I think they are best left for after the Apocalypse.

They need to be soaked in fresh water for 24 hours or so to remove the poisons (tanning agents and saponins – yucky/sour) then, they can be ground and used as flour (mixed with an ordinary flour 50:50). They can also be roasted (after soaking) to make a poor coffee substitute.

I found my recipes in some wartime cookery book.


Thanks for the tips! I agree… let’s save them for after the Apocalypse… 😉