The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Edible sweet chestnut trees Castanea sativa

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Even to this day, in those parts of France and Italy nearest the great chestnut forests of the Appenines, these nuts form a large portion of the food which sustains the peasantry, where grain is but little cultivated, and potatoes almost unknown. There a sweet and highly nutritious flour is prepared from them, which makes a delicious bread. Large quantities of the fruit are therefore annually collected in those countries, and dried and stored away for the winter's consumption. Old Evelyn says, "the bread of the flour is exceedingly nutritive: it is a robust food, and makes women well complexioned, as I have read in a good author. They also make fritters of chestnut flour, which they wet with rose-water, and sprinkle with grated parmigans, and so fry them in fresh butter for a delicate." The fruit of the chestnut abounds in saccharine matter; and we learn from a French periodical, that experiments have been made, by which it is ascertained that the kernel yields nearly sixteen per cent. of good sugar.