AU Homestead

‘AU Homestead’ (C. mollissima) is a selection of a USDA cooperative planting established at Auburn University in 1954. It was released by Auburn University in 1980. ‘AU Homestead’ is late-ripening, has a long ripening period, and is considered better suited for household use than commercial plantings. This nut is considered by Hongwen Huang, Hongwen Huang, Director, South China Botanical Gardens, Chinese Academy of Sciences, to have an exceptionally fine flavor. The nut has a glutinous quality that is preferred in China. This quality refers to the temperature that starch gelatinizes in the nut (140 °F) in chestnut. In lay terms, the glutinous quality is probably best described by the term “mouthfeel,” and it imparts a rich and complex texture. Based on years of taste testing, M. Nave hypothesizes that the higher-quality European and American chestnuts have a lower gelatinization temperature than most C. mollissima nuts, which plays a role in their excellent flavor. Furthermore, some of the C. mollissima (based on the Chinese standards) with better flavor seem similar to European and American nuts; these nuts, ‘AU Homestead’ included, taste much better roasted than raw (Metaxas, 2013; Miller, 2003; Nave, 1998). The nut size fluctuates with crop size and tree age.