How to Eat Malabar Chestnuts

How to Eat Malabar Chestnuts

By Heidi Almond


The Malabar chestnut, also known as the Guyana chestnut,  provision tree, money tree or Saba nut, is a native to tropical parts of Mexico  and South America, where it grows in sunny, stream-side locations.  It is also  cultivated in gardens and can be grown in pots as a patio or sunroom plant,  although it must be protected from freezing.  These trees produce green pods  that are 4 to 12 inches long and packed with edible seeds, which can be eaten  raw, roasted or fried.

Step 1

Gather or purchase Malabar chestnut pods.  Malabar  chestnuts are ready to be harvested when the pod has turned from green to brown  and has split open.

Step 2

Pry apart the pod with your fingers.  Use a knife if  necessary, but take care not to damage the seeds inside.  Discard the woody,  brown pod.

Step 3

Peel the thick seed coat from the seeds with a  knife.

Step 4

Coat the seeds lightly with any kind of vegetable oil and  a dash of salt, and roast them on a baking sheet at 250 to 300 degree Fahrenheit  until the seeds are fragrant and starting to brown, about 10 to 30 minutes.   Stir often to prevent burning.

Tips and Warnings

  • You can also eat Malabar chestnuts raw.  The raw seeds  have a soft texture and mild peanut-like flavor.  Raw, unprocessed Malabar  chestnuts can be kept for several months if stored in a cool, dry, dark place. Or sprout the seeds by soaking them in water for one to two days.  Sprouted  Malabar chestnuts may be roasted, fried or ground into a flour to use in baked  goods like bread, cookies or cake. Or fry Malabar chestnut seeds in oil in a pan  on the stove over medium heat until brown.   Malabar chestnuts may also be added  to stir fries. Serve roasted Malabars warm, or allow them to cool for a crisper  texture. These taste similar to American chestnuts. Since Malabar chestnuts are  grown only in tropical locations, you are more likely to find them at markets  there.  Malabar chestnuts may also rarely be found in specialty shops or  high-end grocery stores. The young leaves and flowers of the Malabar chestnut  tree are also edible.

Things You’ll Need

  • Vegetable oil
  • Salt
  • Baking sheet

Malabar Chestnut


The five-valved fruit of Malabar chestnut is an ovoid, woody green pod which may reach 4 to 12 inches in length and 2 to 2-1/2 inches in diameter, bearing some resemblance to kapok or silk floss seed pods.

Tasting Notes

Flavors: raw: similar to a mild peanut flavor

Selecting and Buying

Procuring: The pods fall from the tree when ready and bust open spewing the nuts all over the ground. Go out every day to harvest nuts .

Preparation and Use

We soak the nuts for @ 24 hours . This causes the “skin” to split making them easy to peel. Then refrigerate and eat nuts raw, or roast in oven until medium brown, dry and crunchy. Warm nuts from the oven smell good and make a nice substitute for popcorn!


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