Collecting chestnuts yourself - tips and tricks

Collecting chestnuts yourself - tips and tricks

Can I collect chestnuts anywhere?

Before you harvest fruit from someone else's trees, you should make sure that they are really "abandoned" trees, otherwise you will commit robbery. You are unlikely to find what you are looking for in northern Germany, because sweet chestnuts prefer a location in the mild climate of a wine-growing region. You will therefore find most of the chestnuts in the Palatinate or on the Moselle, Saar and Nahe.

also read

  • When is the chestnut harvest time?
  • Can you grow chestnuts yourself?
  • Can I propagate chestnuts myself?

How do I recognize chestnuts?

In contrast to the sweet or sweet chestnut, the horse chestnut bears inedible fruits that can cause stomach pain. This is why you should be careful when collecting. The distinction between these trees is not too difficult, however, and is possible both on the basis of the leaves and the fruits themselves.

The typical hand-like shape of the horse chestnut leaves is probably already known to most children. In contrast, the sweet chestnut has individual narrow leaves with a jagged edge. The fruit capsules of both plants are prickly. While the shell of the horse chestnut has only a few short spines, the capsule of the sweet chestnut has numerous thin and longer spines.

The fruits themselves are also quite different. On the one hand, the skin of the horse chestnut usually contains only one fruit, while that of the sweet chestnut contains up to three fruits at a time. On the other hand, the shape of the chestnut should be noted. Horse chestnuts are quite evenly shaped, round or oval. However, sweet chestnuts are clearly flattened and tapered to a point. They are slightly hairy at the top.

When do I harvest chestnuts?

You can harvest chestnuts from around the end of September, usually only for a few weeks. Some cultivars have a different or longer harvest time. The harvest itself is not particularly difficult, because the ripe chestnuts fall from the tree and only have to be picked up. But they didn't want to wait too long with that, or the squirrels will snatch your harvest away from you.

What do I do with the chestnuts that I have collected?

Since the sweet chestnut does not keep for too long, you should use the fruit quickly. Roasted chestnuts, which you can easily prepare in the oven, are a delicious snack. Baked or cooked chestnuts can also be used to create delicious desserts or cook tasty soups. If the harvest is very plentiful, simply freeze the surplus chestnuts.

The essentials in brief:

  • Harvesting of abandoned trees is mostly allowed
  • Do not confuse chestnuts with horse chestnuts!
  • Indication for chestnuts: several flattened fruits per bowl
  • Fruit does not keep very long
  • to be used many times


Collect the chestnuts regularly, their shelf life is limited and competition from wild animals is great.