It is the season for chestnuts, one of the delicacies of autumn. Chestnuts are a deciduous tree of the beech family that grows wild in a wide range of mountains and fields from southern Hokkaido to Kyushu. Chestnuts have been valued as food since the Jomon period and are mentioned in the Kojiki (Records of Ancient Matters). During the Warring States period, dried chestnuts called "kachi (pounded) chestnuts" were used to boost morale because of the good luck associated with "kachi" meaning "victory. Today, chestnuts are still used for cooking for festivals and events.

In addition to food, chestnuts are also used for wood for building and wood tools, and later for fuel. Because of its tannin content, chestnut wood is durable and moisture-resistant, and is used for building foundations, railroad sleepers, ship materials, furniture, bathroom boards, and as a raw material for growing shiitake mushrooms. The main components of the gassho-zukuri style buildings in Gifu Prefecture's Shirakawa-go, a World Heritage Site, are also made of chestnut.

Chestnuts as foodstuff are a superfood with high nutritional value. The outer skin is the pulp, the inner skin is the astringent skin, and the part of the chestnut we generally eat (the kernel) is the seed. From vitamins B1 and C, potassium, dietary fiber, and folic acid, the astringent peel contains tannin, a type of polyphenol, which is a powerful antioxidant that is effective for anti-aging. Although boiling the astringent peel, including the astringent peel, is time-consuming, the taste is well worth the effort. Chestnuts are valued from foodstuff to wood, so why not enjoy the taste of autumn only now?

Chestnuts boiled in astringent skin

1 kg chestnuts
1 tablespoon baking soda
450 g sugar
1 teaspoon salt

1. soak chestnuts in water for about half a day or in boiling water for about 30 minutes to make them easier to peel. Make an incision with a knife from the seat to the head, and peel only the devil's skin so as not to damage the astringent skin. 2.
Add baking soda to the peeled chestnuts and enough water to cover them, and boil over medium heat in a saucepan for 10 minutes. When the water in the pot turns black, drain the chestnuts and change the water to remove the scum. 3.
3. carefully remove any streaks or cottony skin with your fingers or a bamboo skewer, so as not to damage the astringent skin. 4.
4. boil the chestnuts in the same way as in step 2 for 5 to 6 minutes, then drain off the water and repeat 4 or 5 times to drain into a colander.
3. fill a pot with enough water to cover the chestnuts, add 1/3 of the sugar and boil for 10 minutes. Repeat 3 times, and when the sugar has been added, add salt at the end.

Koizumi Glass's Canister M
Appi Urushi Studio's Flat Bowl
Sonobe Sangyo's Meibokuwan Chestnut M