This wonderful, wood- loving mushroom is commonly found growing on beech trees in the wild, but can also grow on oak and black poplar.
Cultivation: The Chestnut mushroom is a good beginner mushroom to grow, but can be tricky. Chestnuts prefer to fruit at colder temperatures (50-70F) , and consistent humidity is key to locking in solid pinsets. Incubation takes anywhere from 2-3 weeks, and fruiting sits in the same time frame as well. When nearing the end of incubation, the mycelium gets a reddish-brown hue, streaking across the mycelium. Beginner growers might mistake this for contamination when first growing chestnuts. This makes the blocks very unique compared to the others. If you forgot to label these fear not! They are easy to spot. Many farmers that grow chestnuts seem to have their own coveted way of cutting their bag for fruiting. It’s always fun to see different techniques growers come up with to secure their crop in the best way. We’ve tried quite a few!
Cooking and Taste: This mushroom lends a load of flavor to dishes compared to other mushrooms. With a robust nutty/earthy taste, chestnuts are a perfect match for risottos and soups. When sautéing, we find it best to split the mushrooms in half vertically (hotdog style if you will), with butter, garlic, and sea salt.
Health Benefits: Chestnuts are rich in B vitamins: riboflavin, niacin, and pantothenic acid. The combination helps protect heart health. Riboflavin is good for red blood cells. Niacin is good for the digestive system and for maintaining healthy skin.
Polysaccharides from Chestnuts have been extracted and used to test anti-tumor properties. In one study, they were administered into the stomaches of white mice at a dosage of 300 mg/kg. This inhibited the growth of Sarcoma 180 and Ehrlich solid cancers by 70% and 60% (Ohtsuka et al., 1973).