The sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) is widespread in Europe. Despite its name, it is not related to the horse chestnut. It belongs to the beech family. The trees develop impressive shapes and grow very old.
Of particular interest are the fruits of the sweet chestnut, the chestnuts. When is chestnut harvest time? When are the chestnuts ripe? Which harvesting technique has proven itself?

tree of the year

The sweet chestnut (Castanea sativa) was voted Tree of the Year in 2018. It is considered by forest experts to be one of the most important tree species of the future. The reason for this, in addition to the excellent wood, is above all the tree’s resistance to climate change and global warming. Even hot summers with extreme dryness do not affect the sweet chestnut.

The fruits

The fruits of the chestnut make the tree so popular with people. Like beechnuts, these are nuts.
The fruits have different regional names

  • chestnuts
  • Edelkastienien
  • Costs, costs or chests
  • Chestene

Sweet chestnuts often bloom for the first time after 15 years. If you buy a young tree of the Castanea sativa variety and hope for a rich harvest, you have to be patient. Modern breeds only need three to five years to flower for the first time. In addition to the long time until flowering, the tree needs a lot of space and a second tree nearby for pollination in order to bring the desired yield.

Incidentally, the chestnut is the refined cultivated form of the chestnut. Their fruits are larger and rounder than the originals. The aroma of chestnuts is stronger and they taste sweeter than wild chestnuts.


Chestnuts can be eaten raw or prepared in a variety of ways. However, they are known for their stomach compatibility. They used to be considered a poor people’s dish. After all, today they have a permanent place in specialty restaurants.

Chestnuts can be boiled, pureed or roasted. Chestnut flour is often used in vegetarian and vegan cuisine. It is gluten-free and is an excellent alternative to wheat flour.

Even Hildegard von Bingen was convinced of the healing power of chestnuts. They contain important B vitamins, proteins and minerals.

Harvest time of Esskastania

Depending on the region, chestnuts ripen between September and October. The harvest time for the tasty chestnuts begins at the end of September and lasts into November.

Ripe eskastanien is recognized in that

  • they fall from the tree
  • the prickly shells burst open
  • the chestnuts are easy to remove

Harvesting the chestnuts does not require any special harvesting technology. The ripe fruits are therefore easily collected. However, you should be quick. Eventually, larger birds, and especially squirrels, have a lot of interest in the tasty food.


  • do not use plastic bags, but airy wire baskets or wicker baskets
  • Layer the chestnuts in the basket
  • Take the chestnuts out of the prickly skin
  • process quickly, they only keep for a few weeks
Tip: You can extend the short shelf life of the chestnuts by freezing them. This does not damage the fruit.

Peel the chestnuts

Slightly score the brown skin, ideally in a criss-cross pattern. Then put the chestnuts in boiling water for a quarter of an hour or in the oven at 200 degrees Celsius. The shell bursts open at the scratch and you can easily remove it. We recommend removing the skins from the chestnuts while they are hot.

risk of confusion

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