Sunday, October 25, 2009
How to instantly tell an edible chestnut from a horse chestnut.
Horse chestnuts are not really true chestnuts. They are from a completely different species of tree. Horse Chestnuts are mildly poisonous to humans but are eaten by animals that have different digestion systems. Horse Chestnuts contain a soap like substance that is disagreeable to humans. Sometime horse chestnuts are used for medicinal purposes or to feed animals and can be found sold online. To eat a horse chestnut it is necessary to do something like boil them many times to make a mush out of them and drain off the the inedible components. A slimilar process is used for acorns but there is no reason to eat something that tastes so bad when you can get edible chestnuts instead. Edible chestnuts are not as pretty , smooth and shiney as the rounder horse chestnuts are . Edible chestnuts tend to have flatter sides too. The real distinction is the tail that edible chestnuts have at their pointy tips. These tails allow small rodents to drag the whole nut away and could be part of the reason the nuts have them. You can pick up an edible chestnut by this tail on their pointy tip. There is no such apendage on the poisonous horse chestnut. There really are not as many similarities beteween the two types of nuts once you explore the pictures or both or the actual nuts side by side. See the picture on the top of this site and note the tails at the pointy end of the nuts that means they are true chestnutds and edible . If the nuts you find do not have the tail then do not eat them but you can collect them for decorative purposes or to feed squirels and other animals that like them.