It is an ideal time to go out in nature, enjoy the fresh air and – collect chestnuts. 😀
Chestnut, Latin Castanea sativa, is, according to anthropologists, one of the first foods eaten by man. It is mostly grown in southern Europe and the Mediterranean.
Chestnut tree is like an oak, very appreciated and could live for about 500 years. The oldest chestnut tree, called “the horse”, is located on the Sicilian Mount Etna and is believed to be aged between 2,000 and 4,000 years ago. Can you believe this?
In the past, as still today, people eat it roasted and boiled. From minced chestnuts people were making a drink that is served as a substitute for coffee. Honey chestnuts are used for preparing of honey brandy. Legend has it that the Greek army survived on chestnuts during the retreat from Asia Minor 401 BC.
These nuts, because of their high nutrition value, were donated to the poor in France for the feast of St. Martin, in Tuscany they are traditionally eaten on holiday of St. Simon.
Chestnut has twice as much starch than potatoes, so it is of no wonder that it is still one of the most important ingredients in China, Japan and Southern Europe.
It is often used in the form of flour for bread, which is why it got the nickname “tree of bread”. Like walnuts and almonds, it contains no gluten, so it is suitable for celiac patients, gluten-sensitive people or people allergic to wheat.
It contains minerals, B group vitamins, vitamins A and C. Those vitamins are not lost during cooking, because the fruit is protected by thick crust. As for the minerals, it is rich in potassium and phosphorus, calcium, magnesium, sulfur, chlorine, iron, copper and manganese.
In a hundred grams of raw fruit there are 200 calories, and the main constituent is a starch, which makes about 44 percent of chestnut. It is the only nut with vitamin C.
Chestnut is a rich source of monounsaturated fats such as oleic acid. Monounsaturated fats protect cardiovascular health and can help lower cholesterol level. Due to its high energy value, chestnuts are recommended for children, pregnant women and the elderly.