A friend has sent us a package of water-caltrops, or water-chestnuts. The French name is macres. Water-chestnuts are so unappreciated, and last for such a short time, being considered a delicacy only in places where there are ponds, that I should like to write a little about them here.
This strange water fruit, of ooze and autumn bred, forms with four protective horns when fully ripe a shell of very hard texture. Cracking them open with a good stout knife will leave blue-black stains on your hands and at least a couple of damaged fingers. The flesh has a bluish white color the consistency of candle wax. It neither looks like a chestnut nor does it taste like one. Even when cooked it still calls to mind the pond where it was born and the mud that nurtured it.
"And... are they really good?" you might ask. I don't rightly know, but there is something very nostalgic about their fragrance of riverside reeds, of spearmint, of disturbed water in the early days of autumn.
Image via We Heart It