by Alan Detwiler April 12, 2013
It seems the best way to store chestnuts is to dry them. The way I do it is to cut the chestnuts in half, boil in water for a few minutes, remove the shell and skin, and put them in a food dehydrater for 48 hours.
It's 3 or 4 hours work to get 3 quarts dried chestnuts. One way to make it easier is to make a jig that helps steady the knife used to cut the chestnut, hull on, in half. Without the jig, it's more than pushing straight down with the knife. Because the chestnut is not in line with the arm, there is a torque that strains muscles and joints if you are cutting more than about 3 quarts of chestnuts. The jig enables a straight down push to cut a chestnut in half. That eliminates a lot of stress and effort.
I have a reasonabley sturdy table with a solid wood top about an inch thick. The table top is made in 2 parts and slides apart, separating at he center. So the jig can be placed in the joint between the two halfs and the halfs slid together to hold the jig.
Below is a couple of pictures of the jig I made out of a piece of clotheshanger wire, maybe about 10 inches long. Start by bending the wire around the knife blade at about the center of the wire. Twist the wires together to form a loop around the knife blade, about a full turn, I suppose. Then put something such as a piece of 16 penny nail between the two wire and twist the wire together forming a length of twisted wire the same length as the thickness of your table top. Put a piece of 3/4 inch by 3/4-inch wood between the wires, bending the wire around the wood so the wood is held securely enough to stay in place while the jig is in use. Finally twist the wire together so the squarish loop hold the wood remains secured.
The nail keeps the jig from dropping down into the joint between the two table halfs. The 3/4-inch wood keep the jig from raising up when the knife tries to pivot as the handle is pushed down.
The chestnut cutter setup.
Contributed by Alan Detwiler. Bio at
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