Seasonal Fruit October: Chestnut, Lingonberry, Elderberry

It’s going to be autumn. Chestnuts, lingonberries, and elderberries make October a festive month. We have the best recipes for golden October.

Chestnuts: Hot chestnuts

In contrast to horse chestnuts, sweet chestnuts are edible. The Marone is a special breed of sweet chestnut, which tastes even more aromatic and is slightly larger than the usual sweet chestnut. In principle, edible chestnuts, sweet chestnuts, and chestnuts are the same. Chestnuts are often available pre-cooked, peeled, and vacuum-packed. But you can also buy unprocessed sweet chestnuts or collect them yourself in parks and forests. You can recognize chestnuts by their skin covered with fine thorns.

You can either boil chestnuts in water or roast them in the oven. For both types of preparation, score the skin of the chestnuts crosswise with a sharp knife. Bake the chestnuts in the oven for around half an hour at 200 °C. Put the chestnuts in water in the pot, boil it and let it simmer for about 10 minutes. In any case, peel the chestnuts before eating them, as they are inedible. When heated, the starch contained in the chestnut converts to sugar, hence its distinctive, sweet taste.

By the way: The oldest and largest tree in Europe is the sweet chestnut. It is between 2000 and 4000 years old and stands at the foot of the Sicilian volcano Etna.

Lingonberry or cranberry?

Lingonberries and cranberries are often mistaken for one and the same berry. In fact, they have a lot in common, but also a lot of differences. Cranberries are significantly larger than lingonberries and grow on vines and not on bushes like lingonberries. What both have in common is their very bitter and sour taste when raw. As a result, both berries are often served as an accompaniment in pastries, as a fruity ingredient in stews, meat dishes, and sauces, or as a compote. Cranberry jam is a popular addition to meat dishes, often found alongside the Swedish meatballs known as köttbullar.

Both the cranberry and the lingonberry act as true medicinal plants for bladder problems. Cranberry juice or tea made from cranberry leaves protects the lining of the bladder and can inhibit urinary tract infections. But the berries are also bursting with healthy nutrients. In addition to the extremely important vitamin C, the small red berries contain many B vitamins as well as potassium, calcium, and magnesium.

Elderberry – More than just Hugo

Most people probably know elderberry from the trend drink Hugo. For this aperitif, however, the finely aromatic elderflowers are used and not the ripe elderberries. The raw berries of the elderberry are slightly poisonous, so they have to be heated and processed before consumption – to jam, juice, vinegar, or other things. This is how the small, black-purple berries unfold their healthy effect, as they are full of vitamin C, vitamin A, and numerous trace elements such as iron and zinc. Incidentally, elderberries also promote blood circulation and can have a fever-reducing effect when you have a cold.

The small berries are often called lilac berries here in the north. The lilac berry soup is particularly well-known and popular. For this, elderberries are boiled with sugar, then sieved and the juice thickened. The resulting soup is cooked with pieces of apple and pear and semolina dumplings and seasoned with cinnamon and cloves as desired.

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