The Walden Effect: Farming, simple living, permaculture, and invention.

Wormy chestnuts

Wormy chestnutsI dragged Daddy to the fruit stand on Friday, where we peered in the cooler at two big baskets of chestnuts.  "Nice looking chesnuts," I said to the clerk, making conversation.  "They're buggy --- we're going to throw them out this evening," he replied.

My biomass detectors perked right up.  Five minutes later, I had a bushel of wormy chestnuts in my possession, hoping that I'll be able to find a way to feed them to the chickens.  I know my flock won't be able to peck their way through the tough skins, and I don't want to crack each one open individually.  Does anyone have any ideas for busting a bunch of wormy chestnuts far enough out of their shells so that a chicken beak can get to them?

Our homemade chicken waterer never spills or fills with poop.

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About us: Anna Hess and Mark Hamilton spent over a decade living self-sufficiently in the mountains of Virginia before moving north to start over from scratch in the foothills of Ohio. They've experimented with permaculture, no-till gardening, trailersteading, home-based microbusinesses and much more, writing about their adventures in both blogs and books.

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Lay out a board and put the chestnuts on it - run over them with your vehicle
Comment by Jayne Sun Oct 10 08:31:38 2010
Good idea! I was trying to think through a way to use the golf cart, but was getting stuck on our soft ground. The board trick might just do it!
Comment by anna Sun Oct 10 10:17:49 2010

stop first thing, you would have a mess. take and put an amount of nuts in a thick plastic bag or even an old pillow slip. then take a hammer and pound, or if you have a large cinder block you could lay on it and that would break the skin. if you mash all of the nuts at once you would have to use them at that time, I would use these as a supplement to their diets.

Oh by the way, thanks for putting the girls in the pasture. I knew they would be happier there.

mom roseanell

Comment by roseanell Sun Oct 10 19:14:48 2010

You two are really on top of it. I liked Jayne's idea, but was trying to figure out how to keep the the chestnuts from flying everywhere when I rolled the golf cart over them. I think what I'm going to do is put some in my sack from India and put them on a board, then roll over them with the golf cart, combining both of your ideas.

And I like your idea of using them as a feed supplement, a bit at a time. I was thinking of maybe doing a cup or so a day until they're all gone.

You're totally right --- they do seem considerably happier in pasture!

Comment by anna Sun Oct 10 20:01:17 2010

Wouldn't your food processor or a blender make short work of them?

(Since a blender can chew up marbles, I don't think chestnuts stand much of a chance)

Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Oct 11 04:53:42 2010
NO! don't try hitting the nuts with a foodprocessor or blender, standard low-end blenders will not hit much more than ice, even ice will make some of them struggle and at least my food processor warns not to try ice as it will damage it. The "does it blend" blender is a comercial grade blender and uses a special much higher power motor and costs something like $600.
Comment by Anonymous Mon Oct 11 07:47:13 2010
I have to agree with Anonymous here --- my food processor isn't up to that kind of task. I think I'll try out the pillowcase idea first.
Comment by anna Mon Oct 11 08:06:54 2010
Would they fit into your oil press? If they do, you'd have a nice seedmeal that could feed the chickens or be used as a soil amendment.
Comment by Whit Mon Oct 11 09:50:23 2010
I love that idea! I'll have to give it a shot, although from eyeballing it, it looks like I would have to cut the chestnuts in half first.
Comment by anna Mon Oct 11 13:01:12 2010
Somehow I find the propect of anything pressed from wormy chestnuts less then appealing. :-/
Comment by Roland_Smith Mon Oct 11 13:42:20 2010

Well, I wouldn't eat the oil. Just use it as a way to process the nuts.

That said, I did a test run this morning, and our spoiled chickens don't seem all that interested. Looks like the nuts will go on the compost pile after all! The golf cart wasn't heavy enough to really crack them, but they were easy to crack in a cloth sack with a hammer.

Comment by anna Mon Oct 11 13:46:58 2010

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