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Fall in the Garden

This year's big garden news was the giant harvest of very large chard, kale, and parsley. Every day we ate crackling crisp chard and kale leaves and never grew tired of them. So fresh! And our donkey Marigold and goat Gertrude each had a large leaf of chard and a little parsley every evening for a special treat. There was nothing quite as cute as their excitement over this.


And now let's talk about chestnuts! While the donkey and goat were feasting on chard, let's say the sheep were waiting for the chestnuts to fall. Here you see them helping themselves to the windfall.

I was in California for the month of October, and missed the chestnut harvest.  Torrey came to the rescue! While we prefer freshly harvested chestnuts, last year we tried something new. We scored each chestnut and froze them on a cookie sheet. Once frozen, we transferred them to a mason jar and stored them in the freezer to use for the holiday season. It worked! So this year, Torrey did the same thing. When baking frozen chestnuts, there is no need to thaw first, but it may take longer to bake them.

Roasting Fresh Chestnuts

Preheat the oven to 400° F.

Using a sharp knife, make an “x” in the rounded side of each chestnut, in order to allow steam to escape. (If you forget one, you may hear a loud explosion inside your oven, and have a little mess of exploded chestnut!)  

Put the chestnuts in a covered baker and bake until tender, about 20–25 minutes. Try one and see if it is done. If not, bake for a few more minutes. 

Remove and let rest in a bowl covered with a kitchen towel for 10 minutes to further "steam" them, and then enjoy promptly while still hot.

Kathy's Chestnut Stuffing

Chestnuts add a sweetness to the savory flavors of celery, parsley, and sage. Adding them is well worth the extra effort. We usually have so many things going on in the kitchen for Thanksgiving that to save time, we use a good quality prepared stuffing mix, following the directions on the package.

  • Chestnuts
  • Seasoned stuffing mix
  • Butter, according to package instructions
  • Diced celery
  • Fresh or dried rubbed sage
  • Fresh parsley
  • Water or unsalted broth

Score the chestnuts by cutting an “x” with a paring knife into the rounded side of each chestnut. Place the chestnuts in a pot of cold water. Bring to a boil, then simmer for 30 minutes until chestnuts are tender. Chop the chestnuts into large pieces and set aside.

In a skillet or saute pan, melt the butter, adding the chopped celery, sage, stuffing mix, chestnuts, and parsley, stirring gently to combine.

Bake in the oven in a covered baking dish for 25–30 minutes until piping hot.

Check out more recipes from Rosie's November 2021 Iowa Source article, Fall Harvest.

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