Chestnuts (kestane) have an ancient history. The sweet chestnut was introduced into Europe from Sardis (located 70 kilometers from the Turkish city of Izmir). Sardis was the capital of the ancient Kingdom of Lydia, ruled by King Croesus (560 – 546 BC). At the time, chestnut was even referred to as the ‘Sardian Nut.’ Chestnut has been a staple food in the mountainous regions of the Mediterranean for millennia, where it largely replaced grains and cereals. With little or no access to wheat flour, many communities relied on chestnuts and chestnut flour as the main source of carbohydrates. The earliest known record of chestnut cultivation can be found in Theophrastus’ Enquiry into Plants, written in the 3rd century BC. Today, Turkey is the third leading producer of sweet chestnuts in the world.
Sart, Turkey | Izmir Province | Aegean Region
In Turkey, chestnut are eaten roasted and candied. Roasted chestnuts are prepared by first placing a small cut on the flat side of each and then placing them in simmering in water to soften. Afterward, the chestnuts are ready for roasting in the oven or on an open fire. Roasted chestnuts (kestane) are sold by street vendors throughout Turkey. Like roasted chestnuts, candied chestnuts (kestane şekeri) are first boiled to soften. After softening, the shells are removed and the exposed chestnut is placed into sweet syrup. The city of Bursa, located in the Marmara region, is famous for candied chestnuts.
In Turkey, chestnuts are called kestane.
Chestnut trees, which can live up to 500 years, can be found growing in Turkey’s Aegean, Mediterranean and Marmara regions. The city of Bursa, located in the Marmara Region, boasts having finest variety of chestnuts.
Chestnuts ripen in October and November.
Indulge in more Delicious Turkish Nuts
Hazelnut | Fındık
Hazelnut has been cultivated in Turkey’s Black Sea Region for more than 2,300 years. Additionally, Turkey has been exporting hazelnuts for over six hundred years. Today, roughly 75% of the world’s hazelnut supply is grown in Turkey.
Peanut | Fıstık
Peanut is believed to have originated in South America. Although there are no archeological records to support the assertion, people in South America made pottery and jars in the shape of peanuts as far back as 3,500 years ago.
Pistachio is one of the oldest flowering nut trees. Recent archeological evidence in Turkey suggests that pistachios have been enjoyed since as early as 7000 BC. Today, Turkey is the third largest producer of pistachios in the world.
Walnut | Ceviz
Walnut has a rich history dating back thousands of years. Dating back as far as 7000 BC, walnuts are believed to be one of the oldest tree foods known to man. With over 6 million trees, Turkey is the fourth largest producer of walnuts worldwide.