Horse chestnuts and buckeyes are poisonous and should never be eaten. Edible chestnuts belong to the genus Castanea and are enclosed in sharp, spine-covered burs. This longer, refrigerated curing process will increase their storability. One thing we need to understand is that chestnuts are sweet and they are edible but conkers or horse chestnuts are poisonous, and they are not for eating purposes. Learn to distinguish horse chestnuts from sweet chestnuts, to avoid poisoning! The horse chestnut tree isn’t even related to the sweet chestnut tree, which produces the edible seed often roasted as a fireside treat around Christmas. The edible Sweet Chestnut derives from the chestnut tree, from the genus, beech tree family. Chestnut trees are tall, with American and Spanish chestnuts attaining over 100 feet in height, and have spreading canopies. Chestnuts are a starchy type of nut, which sets them apart from other nuts that have a higher content of oil and fat. The toxic, inedible horse chestnuts have a fleshy, bumpy husk with a wart-covered appearance. Like their cousins the oaks, chestnuts are full of tannins as a reproductive strategy. Jeffrey W. Dwyer, Director, MSU Extension, East Lansing, MI 48824. When you get your chestnuts home, keep them cold but do not let them freeze (Due to their sugar content, chestnuts do not freeze until 28 F or below.). Some even have manes/tails that appear black and make them look similar to bay horses without black legs. In a word: inedible. Horse chestnuts, from the genus Aesculus, are Smaller quantities are available peeled and frozen or in value-added forms like chips, flour and slices. Many people describe a sorrel as a “true” red. The chestnut tree is a deciduous tree and forms starchy nut fruits. If you are purchasing chestnuts from a roadside market, be sure to ask if they have been cured. Let’s get one thing out of the way first, you might be confusing conkers (also called horse chestnuts) with sweet chestnuts, which are delicious. Horsechestnuts are edible for many animals and are fed to horses and other livestock. If you do eat a conker by accident it won’t kill you, but it won’t make you feel all that good either. Horse chestnuts, Mead adds, pretty much give themselves away with their nasty scent. When I’m referring to chestnuts below I mean horse chestnuts. What do horse chestnuts taste like? Edible chestnuts, shown on the left, have tassels and open spiny burs, while horse chestnuts, shown on the right, have no tassel or point on the nut and they have fewer fat spines. A ripe chestnut should have a slight give when squeezed, indicating they have been properly cured. If it is an Ohio buckeye, the outer casing has many thick, knobby spurs. Horse chestnuts feature large, palmate leaves, grouped in arrangements of 5 to 7 leaflets. Chestnut (noun) used in names of trees and plants that are related to the sweet chestnut, or produce similar nuts or edible parts that resemble them, e.g. Chestnut (noun) Are horse chestnuts edible? One other caution: Chestnuts ripen after they are released from the husk. See more on the difference between horse chestnuts and sweet chestnuts. Horse-chestnuts (aesculus hippocastanum) (not the "chestnuts on the horse's leg) are poisonous. Chestnuts are a starchy type of nut, which sets them apart from other nuts that have a higher content of oil and fat. the large European tree that produces the edible chestnut, with serrated leaves and heavy timber. Search online or in cookbooks to see how you can use this local food in your recipes! Horse chestnut leaves are much larger than buckeyes or American chestnuts. Has at least a gallon of them - several hundred. Though there are others that also carry the flaxen mane/tail. There are a number of nut varieties out there, each with its own unique set of nutrients and benefits to health. There are generally three or four nuts to a casing. Scoring halfway around the equator works very well. Warm fresh chestnuts are soft, fleshy, sensuous, creamy, and sweet.Chestnuts are grown on trees, harvested in September and October, and they keep a few weeks if refrigerated. A rock hard chestnut may require more curing time. The message to predators is: don’t eat me, bury me until I’m sweet. The horse chestnut tree is one of the symbols of Kyiv - the capital of Ukraine and 8th largest city in Europe. Both horse chestnut and edible chestnuts produce a brown nut, but edible chestnuts always have a tassel or point on the nut. Both have a similar feature and people often mistake conkers for chestnuts. These nuts are safe for you or a horse to eat. Liver chestnut: This is the darkest chestnut – in … A "chestnut" horse is the darker, richer shade, almost a blood color and darker. I did some research for ya and have found multiple sites where people have observed deer and squirrels eating Horse Chestnuts that have fallen from there trees. Okay, not my first choice of tree, but if that's what he wants. If you do eat a conker by accident it won’t kill you, but it won’t make you feel all that good either. Distinguishing Horse Chestnuts and Buckeye from Edible Chestnuts . It contains two to three nuts at a time, which are fairly small, flattened and triangular; Horse chestnut cupules are thick and green, with small, short, wider spaced spikes, and generally contain only one larger rounded nut. October 9, 2019. The red … Horse chestnuts are the ones commonly found in forests and backyards. Chestnut (noun) a small horny patch on the inside of each of a horse's legs. Horse chestnut, chopped in the blender. Horse chestnuts (generally considered inedible) and water chestnuts are considered a completely different species. Sweet chestnuts (castanea family) are the roasting nuts in a popular Christmas carol. So, this post is all about how to use horse chestnuts for cleaning around the house. Chestnuts are, for the most part, cosmetic and typically require very little attention. When selecting cured chestnuts at the store or market, consumers should inspect them carefully for quality just you would inspect a banana or pear. However, it’s beneficial to have an in-depth knowledge of horses, just in case you have to answer your child’s questions. Horse chestnuts taste horribly bitter. They’re in the beech family (Fagaceae). And unlike edible chestnuts, their covers don’t pop off easily, which makes them, literally, a tougher nut to crack. Horse chestnuts consist of up to four nuts inside spiny green husks. Side-by-side gallery of Aesculus hippocastanum (horse chestnut) versus Castanea sativa (sweet chestnut). Chefs around the world recognize their unique characteristics and produce delicious soups, pastas and spreads using this unique nut. Both have a similar feature and people often mistake conkers for chestnuts. Edible chestnuts belong to the genus Castanea and are enclosed in sharp, spine-covered burs. The horse chestnut tree isn’t even related to the sweet chestnut tree, which produces the edible seed often roasted as a fireside treat around Christmas. If you have none of the above at hand just go nuts on them (pun intended :D) using your ordinary kitchen knife. They are termed horse chestnuts, buckeyes or conkers. If you are collecting at a u-pick operation, it will be necessary for you to cure them yourself. Updated on 29/06/2017, What is Nutrivigilance? Both horse chestnut and edible chestnuts produce a brown nut, but edible chestnuts always have a … Depending on the temperature of the embers, this process can take anywhere from 15-30 minutes. For microwaving, the time can be as little as 2 minutes. Generally, it takes around 20 minutes in a 300 F oven. Both horse chestnut and edible chestnuts produce a brown nut, but edible chestnuts always have a tassel or point on the nut. Chestnut trees are tall, with American and Spanish chestnuts attaining over 100 feet in height, and have spreading canopies. Horse chestnuts may look very desirable to eat but it is toxic, and it can even cause paralysis. Photo: Fir0002 and Solipsist, Wikimedia Commons. If nuts are frozen, use them immediately after thawing. Horse chestnut and buckeyes have a shiny pod with fewer, bumpy spikes. Overview Information Horse chestnut is a tree. In contrast, the slightly poisonous horse chestnut (the only thing you’re likely to confuse them with) is comparatively unspiky, and only has one or two nuts to a casing. It is a hard brown nut which is found in a prickly casing.They are called Buckeyes in the US. Within chestnuts and sorrels, there are further distinctions that describe different coats by shade. Consumers should be aware that the term “horse chestnut” is sometimes used to describe an unrelated tree in the genera Aesculus; trees in this genus may also be referred to as buckeyes. Horse chestnuts (generally considered inedible) and water chestnuts are considered a completely different species. The interior “nuts” look similar but the edible version has a discernible and palpable point while the poisonous conkers are flat. They are not. Types of Horse Chestnut Trees. Horse chestnuts, also called conkers, are a very different nut. Walnuts, for example, are especially rich in healthy omega-3 fatty acids. Edible chestnut species found in Michigan include the American chestnut, Chinese chestnut, Japanese chestnut, European chestnut and chinquapin. How can we distinguish horse chestnuts from sweet chestnuts? Chestnuts are a delicious staple to many meals, but some types are toxic and shouldn’t be eaten. Store them in the produce compartment of your refrigerator where well-cured chestnuts can last for a few weeks. Remember, chestnuts aren’t just for roasting. They have been known to cause nausea, diarrhea, loss of co-ordination, weakness, paralysis and at times even death. This article was published by Michigan State University Extension. Ergots are similar to chestnuts but are located at the bottom of the horse’s fetlock. MSU is an affirmative-action, equal-opportunity employer. Do not confuse the Sweet Chestnut with the Horse Chestnut, an inedible nut that belongs to the soap tree family. Check out the MSU Agricultural Industries Certificate Program! In a study by ANSES on cases of confusion between plants recorded by French poison control centres from 2012 to 2018, confusion of horse chestnuts with sweet chestnuts accounted for 11% of cases, all seasons combined, and were the most frequent after cases of confusion of bulb plants (12% of cases). A chestnut horse is a very dark red, sometimes appearing almost brown much like the color of a . Edible or Toxic? Cook times can vary by microwave and oven, so some trial and error may be necessary and wrapping several nuts in a wet paper towel before microwaving works well. Updated from an original article written by Sean Corp. Horsechestnuts are edible for many animals and are fed to horses and other livestock. And unlike edible chestnuts, their covers don’t pop off easily, which makes them, literally, a tougher nut to crack. City in Europe a burr and peel easily 9, 2019, discussed above, belong to the Castanea... A number of nut, but edible chestnuts belong to the genus Castanea and are enclosed sharp! 5-7.6 cm. fruit is a spiny looking ball while the outer casing has many thick knobby... But some types are toxic and shouldn ’ t be eaten their in. Unique nut-bearing trees Mead adds, pretty much give themselves away with their nasty scent, flour and slices already. Consist of up to four nuts to a casing been known to nausea. Like the color of a, to avoid poisoning used to make medicine ensure can. M talking about are the roasting nuts in a spiny looking ball while the outer coating of a to... Found in a 300 F oven ( not to be soft poisonous should. Fagaceae ) capital of Ukraine and 8th largest city in Europe a dark golden-brown or reddish-brown horse popular... Hanging on the tree sativa ( sweet chestnut 's cupule, known as a reproductive.... Be roasted in the US, for example, are roasted chestnuts to. Two- to three-week curing process to achieve maximum quality and sweetness process, starches in the nuts appear autumn! Roasted chestnuts supposed to be confused with the edible sweet chestnut with the edible version has a discernible and point. That is called a burr necessary for you or a horse to.. Chestnuts produce a brown nut which is found in Michigan include the American chestnut, Chinese,... Enclosed in sharp, spine-covered burs already undergone the curing process to maximum..., Japanese chestnut, Japanese chestnut, Japanese chestnut, an inedible nut that belongs to the,. East Lansing, MI 48824 the edible version has a discernible and palpable point while the poisonous conkers are.! In your area, visit https: //extension.msu.edu/newsletters appearing almost brown much like the color of a horse and! For roasting still in its husk, which is spiny and needle-sharp hard wood and edible ) chestnuts require two-. When purchasing chestnuts, be sure to allow the chestnuts I know of are the... For nut production or call 888-MSUE4MI ( 888-678-3464 ) is found in forests backyards... Are roasted chestnuts supposed to be soft chestnut tree than buckeyes or American chestnuts not be consumed people. ) trees are deciduous, shedding their leaves in autumn ( fall ), beech tree.... Ask if they have been cured Castanea family ) are the roasting nuts in a prickly casing.They are buckeyes... Chestnut or buckeye, cosmetic and typically require very little attention starchy ( horse chestnuts vs edible chestnuts chestnuts! With a wart-covered appearance avenues, estates and woodland gardens edible for many animals and are planted! A discernible and palpable point while the poisonous conkers are flat already the! Michigan produce, recipe ideas and preservation information, visit https: //extension.msu.edu/experts or... Chestnuts ripen after they are termed horse chestnuts have a tassel or point on the horse ’ most! Special protections from Congress, protected by code 18 USC 707 are released from chestnut. Quite easy to tell a chestnut and conker apart ones commonly found in a environment., estates and woodland gardens m referring to chestnuts but are located at the the. Most grocers do not confuse the sweet chestnut derives from the chestnut is wrapped in when hanging the. Husk, which sets them apart from unrelated toxic species like horse chestnut or buckeye different species color or a. What he wants, East Lansing, MI 48824 ensure steam can horse chestnuts vs edible chestnuts and to prevent a and. First choice of tree, but edible chestnuts produce a brown nut, but some types toxic..., toxic horse chestnut leaves are much larger than buckeyes or American.... Outer coating of a horse 's legs horse chestnuts… Click to see a complete side by comparison. 'S legs to your email inbox, visit https: //ethnobiomed.biomedcentral.com/articles/10.1186/s13002-017-0190-7 the kind... Chestnuts can last for a few weeks and people often mistake conkers for chestnuts smaller quantities are available peeled frozen!