...if you have a backyard and a kitchen, this blog might be for you!

a chronicle of tips and recipes on everything from gardening to canning and baking your produce, even if you're planted in suburbia...in fact, especially if you are planted in suburbia.

Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire...

Is it that time of year at your house yet? I'm talking about that time when you sigh and wonder whatever possessed you to order such a BIG box of citrus from that neighborhood kid out fundraising? Or maybe the long-range ice storms stirred some subconscious, deep-body fear of threats like scurvy as if you were some long-haul 18th century sailor--so you bought the biggest mesh bag on the citrus display at the supermarket? And just maybe, like me, this was the year you got a little over-enthusiastic during holiday immersion and seeing a bag of pre-roasted chestnuts, you thought: it's high time I tried those! Little did you know, if you're like me, the idea of roasted chestnuts (after all, they write songs about them!) far surpasses the actual tastiness. Finally, maybe, like me, you HATE to throw anything away that is fresh and good for food, good at least according to somebody's taste buds if not your own at the moment?

All that drives this post, one dedicated to fringe uses for items you had to have but now, not so much. Creativity where error and ignorance are the original muse. For instance, why not take those chestnuts and some of the orange peel and mix them with dried rosemary and some pine-scented essential oil to get a texturally interesting winter potpourri? The scent may be a little more subtle than what you'd buy at that shop that plays the dulcimer music in the background, but it makes up for its mildness of scent with its visual appeal as a centerpiece.

Then, too, this is the season for nearly obsessive skin care given those icy winds that attack your face every time you go out to shovel snow...AGAIN. From somewhere in the back of my mind rises the memory that citrus is a great source for homemade beauty products. Not having a library book handy on the topic, I surfed the web, and from these two websites alone, I discovered enough ideas that I could go to the kitchen and simply create the following personal spa day package:

FIrst, I'll use that orange juice and pulp mixed with cornmeal to make a paste and have a homemade body scrub. Or, I might use my morning coffee grounds mixed with 1 T of salt, which makes for a more invigorating body scrub for my morning shower. While there, I"ll be letting my face mask made of canned pureed pumpkin and beaten egg exfoliate my face without being abrasive (see chapping winds comment above), then I'll take the juice from pureed cucumber and honey as a toner before moisturizing and going on with my day. Want the links for the recipes? Here they are:



Who says you have to eat everything that's edible? Some edibles are perfectly happy to go "out of the box" and become useful to you in a number of other ways, from the physically comforting to the decorative!
Happy re-purposing!


  1. I tried chestnuts before and you're right...they aren't as good as the song states. Squirrels like them though!

    Cindy Bee

  2. Fortunately, we did more than chestnuts--we got a whole bag of mixed nuts and a simple nut cracker, so we're happily munching almonds, pecans and walnuts anyway!