Agroscope, Institute for Plant Production Sciences IPS, 1260 Nyon, Switzerland

Quality assessment of chestnut fruit from the Ticino region

“It is planned to cultivate suitable chestnut varieties for commercial use in the Ticino region of Switzerland. Quality analysis were carried out on five native chestnut varieties and the results compared with a commercial variety. With the exception of “”Pinca”” the fruit size of the native varieties was significantly smaller than that of the imported “”Marrone di Cuneo””. Chestnuts of the Ticino region contained less sucrose and total fatty acids, but had a higher content of protein. Chestnuts of all varieties contained practically the same amount of starch. The ratio of essential fatty acids (linoleic- and linolenic acid) to total fatty acids was around 0.63 for all analysed samples. Cooking led to severe leaching of potassium and magnesium, but not calcium. Cooked chestnuts were processed to purée (Vermicelles) and its quality tested by sensory evaluation. The Italian commercial variety “”Marrone di Cuneo”” and the native variety “”Pinca”” tasted significantly better than the other varieties. The “”Marrone di Cuneo””, a environmentally sensitive variety originating from the Piemont region in Italy, was considered the best in the present quality assessment study. In new plantations up to 600 m altitude, this variety should therefore be chosen for cultivation. “”Pinca””, one of the native varieties, could be suitable for rejuvenating existing chestnut groves at higher altitude.”

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