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Until the early 1900's American chestnut trees grew extensively over eastern North America, but within 50 years they were almost completely destroyed by the chestnut blight.

Selected Chinese and Japanese blight resistant varieties have painstakingly and successfully been introduced since.

Chestnuts contain 40 to 45 % carbohydrates, 5% oil ,and 50% moisture. They dry rapidly ,so care must be taken during storage. Once peeled of their outer shell and thin skin they can be enjoyed roasted, boiled, pureéd, preserved, pickled, as marrons glacés, sautéed with brussel sprouts or red cabbage and of course, in oriental cuisine.

Chestnuts are synonymous with Christmas and winter. In London street corners they were sold freshly roasted in small paper bags. Chestnut roasters can still be found in antique shops or country markets, they look like small lidded, round boxes full of air holes and with a long handle (should you come across one).

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