Q: Where can I purchase Australian Chestnut flour?
A: You can purchase Australian Chestnut flour from the following websites online at www.cheznuts.com.au www.openfoodnetwork.org.au/wandiful-produce/shop www.chestnutproducts.com.au/ contact the producers direct to see what other value added chestnut products they sell and for outlets.
Q: 'Where and when can I buy fresh chestnuts in Australia?'
A: The Australian season for fresh chestnuts begins early March and runs through to July. Fresh product is available through the major wholesale markets, or just ask your local green grocer to get some in for you. Depending what you want to use them for ask for the sweet easy peeling varieties - De Coppi Marrone/Purton's Pride for roasting and perhaps the larger chestnut named Red Spanish for boiling and microwaving.
Q: 'Are Australian chestnuts available in December in Australia?'
A: If you are looking to purchase chestnuts for the holiday season you are able to purchase Australian chestnut products; flour, puree, frozen peeled (uncooked), peeled vacuum packed (cooked, ready to use) online at www.cheznuts.com.au also check the website for an outlet near you (in the case of frozen).The season for fresh chestnuts in Australia runs from early March - July.
Q: 'What is the difference between varieties?'
A: Most people are not aware that there are different varieties of chestnuts. It's probably best to think of them like potatoes. Some varieties are better for mashing, some for roasting, some for potato salad.
With chestnuts, some varieties such as Red Spanish are great for purees and soups. Others such as De Coppi Marone are best roasted because they are really easy to peel and have a smooth texture and sweet flavour. Purton's Pride is good for peeling and serving whole in a sauce or as a vegetable accompaniment.
Most growers in the Australian industry now sell by variety, so once you get to know the varieties you can decide which one suits your needs and tastes. There are many different ones so you need to do some investigation to work out which ones are best for you.
Q: 'Can you buy canned chestnuts in Australia?'
A: Your enquiry has been passed on to me from Chestnuts Australia as we produce frozen peeled chestnuts. Our frozen peeled chestnuts are available at all Thomas Dux the Grocers in Melbourne and Sydney. Please see our website at http://www.cheznuts.com.au/ for store locations. If you were after canned chestnuts specifically these are imported into Australia mainly from France and are available at selected deli's and gourmet food stores. I think a good place to start would be F. Mayer Imports, 18 Chalmers Cres Mascot. Regards, Jane Casey Australian Gourmet Chestnuts, 233 Hughes Lane, Eurobin Vic 3737, Ph: +61 3 5756 2788, Fax: +61 3 5756 2002
Q: 'I would like to find out some further info regarding growing conditions...soil....cultivars....planting....irrigation....etc etc. I'm looking to plant in heavy loam...slope...southern facing...excellent water...cold winters in the hills near Perth. Any help would be appreciated.'
Q: 'When I have cooked and peeled chestnuts for cooking, can they be stored overnight in the fridge? Or is there an alternate method?'
A: After cooking and peeling chestnuts you can store them in an airtight container overnight for sure, for use the next day. If you would like to store them for use in a few months time, they can be frozen. In fact fresh chestnuts can be frozen also in an air tight container for use out of season, but these would not be good for roasting, but fine for boiling or the microwave.
Q: 'Are there any retail suppliers of chestnut cutters (chestnut knives) and/or chestnut roasters?'
A: Cutting knives are available for purchase from www.tweenhillschestnuts.com.au and scoring snips and roasting pans are available for sale from http://www.growlerscreekgrove.com.au/buy_online.html
For an electric equivalent of a roasting pan which does an excellent job go to http://robinsonschestnuts.com/roaster.php
Q: 'I am looking for a supplier of chestnut seeds.'
A: Seed is available in winter as fresh chestnuts.They must be hard and cold and kept cold for 6 to 8 weeks in a crisper ala plastic bag to prevent drying(stratification). Then planted out where ever. The resulting seedlings will grow into fine ornamental trees with nuts, but not true to type and will have to be grafted to wanted varieties, if desired. Like all fagacea, seed must not dry out and will not keep any length of time unless held at critical moisture and temp. Germination from long term storage can be problematic.