If you are visiting Tywyn between mid-September and the end of October, why not spend a couple of hours chestnut picking? The nearest spot to your holiday accommodation for a spot of foraging is Ynysmaengwyn Park which is a beautiful woodland park open daily throughout the year.
Ynysymaengwyn was once owned by the Corbet family and the estate plays host to the remains of many of the old buildings including a Dovecote, kennels and walled garden.
The TywynHolidays everything-you-need-to-know guide to Chestnut picking
- You will need a pair of work gloves, as the outer shell of the chestnut is extremely prickly, and a couple of plastic bags
- As ‘picking’ actually involves foraging around on the floor rather than climbing trees or ladders, this can be a fun activity for your children, although, it is probably best avoided if your children are very young
- Don’t be tempted to pick from the trees themselves as chestnuts are only ripe after they have fallen. This means that timing is everything where chestnut picking is concerned. Ideally, you should gather the nuts as soon as they have fallen as this preserves the quality of the nut and minimises losses to your erstwhile adversary – the squirrel
- Only go for the big ones! When you consider the effort required to de-burr the chestnut and then prepare it for cooking, gathering the small ones seems hardly worth the effort. In addition to size you should be on the look-out for ones that are firm and seem heavy for their size
To prepare your chestnuts for cooking, de-burr them, and then slit the pointy-end end with an ‘X’. This will enable steam to escape during cooking preventing the nut from exploding if you intend roasting them! The ‘X’ will also make the de-shelling process easier when they have eventually cooked. To roast the nuts place them on a baking tray in an oven for 20-minutes at 400 degrees. If you can’t wait the 20 minutes+ time, then boil them for 8-10 minutes. Boiling is my preferred method as the peeling job is definitely made a lot easier. Roasting your chestnut is more romantic but working your way through the tough outer shell to the crumbly edible part of the nut takes some doing.
If you have any left over, then uncooked nuts can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for a month or in the freezer for a year.
How to get to Ynysymaengwyn?
The woodland is part of the local authority owned Ynysymaengwyn Caravan & Camping Park. The full address is:
Ynysymaengwyn Caravan & Camping Park
The Lodge, Ynysymaengwyn,