Laughing Out Loud

The truth about chestnuts

Yesterday, I talked about the way My Favorite Winks will work as a giveaway.

Today I want to share with you one my favorite winks from September.


On this particular day I was walking with Honey Bear when I came across a familiar brown nut.  I was sooo excited to find chestnuts that I took them home & cooked them.

Well first I grabbed my camera and encouraged my family to pick as many as they could carry.

Back home I scored them, placed them in the pressure cooker, and waited.  As soon as they had cooled I peeled the outer layer and popped it in my mouth.  I expected something sweet and smooth… and I was rewarded with a bitter chalky after taste. Which was odd.

I know that the older I get sometimes the memory doesn’t always live up to my expectations… but this could not be right.  I decided to see if I had cooked it wrong.  Nope, using a pressure cooker did not change things.  I then asked Google to find anything relating to bitter taste and chestnuts.

It turns out the edible chestnuts (Castanea sativa) has a poisonous cousin! I learned a lot of things about the (Aesculus hippocastanum) Horse Chestnut.  The spiked shell was apparently nature’s way of warning us of the danger.  One that went unheeded because I had never picked a fresh chestnut before… they were always ready to go from a vendor or sorted at the market place.

It was safe to say that homeschooling was adult-led that day.

After revealing my mistake, several friends told me they use these nuts for fall house decor.  Some related memories of roping a string of them together and then chasing each other with them.  Of course all of them knew they were poisonous.  They laughingly told me these were Buckeyes.

Wait.  As in the chocolate and peanut butter fudge balls?  Why on earth would people make a fabulously yummy treat that resembles a poisonous nut?!

My desire for chestnuts almost meant our doom. Honey Bear took comfort in the fact that while I made him try the nuts to figure out what I did wrong, I had eaten more than him.  Unfortunately the unpleasant aftermath, of waiting to find out if we would live or die, led him to declare that if I tried to decorate the house with them he would have second thoughts about my innocence.  Hey, at least we learned how to contact poison control while living abroad.  Thankfully we managed to survive this learning opportunity.

Still, I’ll never get the chance to live this down.  This is the day my family realized that they should never send me out to forage for edible plants in the backyard wild.

The next day as we walked out to run errands, Neko spotted a ring of mushrooms growing nearby.  “Hey Mom, want to try those mushrooms?”, he teased.

I said “no”, but secretly I was thinking they would look good sauteing in a pan with a little bit of butter and garlic…

Have a few winks of your own? Come share your Weekly Winks with us over at the Wandering Winkies

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