To pick chestnuts, gather nuts that have fallen from the tree naturally or pick nuts on the tree with exposed nuts showing through the burs. If the nuts are completely enclosed, they are not mature.
Chestnuts ripen in the fall around late September or early October. do not mature until shortly before they fall from the tree; therefore, the best way to ensure that they are mature is to gather nuts that have already fallen from the tree. They should be harvested shortly after falling, as they lose their sweetness and quality quickly. Do not pick any nuts that look moldy or discolored.
To loosen mature nuts, give the tree or branch a gentle shake and gather the nuts that fall to the ground. To pick nuts directly from the tree, find a tall ladder and inspect the chestnuts. Only pick those that have split burs that expose the nuts inside.
Chestnuts are covered with spiky burs, which can make picking challenging. To protect the hands from the spikes, wear thick gloves.
Prepare chestnuts immediately after picking them. To prepare them, remove the burs. Store them for up to a few weeks in the fridge or freezer. Dry them for long-term storage.