Chestnuts are a winter crop and are usually associated with cool weather dining. The smell of chestnuts roasting on an open fire, or oven, the aroma of chestnut bread, a bowl of chestnut soup, chestnuts are a delight to the senses.
Chestnuts and chestnut products have been a mainstay in the diet of many communities in asia and southern Europe since historic times. Wikipedia contains an excellent reference in Chestnuts History on the use chestnuts in the diet over the centuries.
See the Chestnut Products page of this site for references to fresh chestnuts, chestnut meal (flour), tinned chestnuts, hints on the storage of chestnuts, chestnut roaster and a link to a recipe for chestnut liqueur.
Chestnuts deteriorate quickly unless eaten soon after tree fall or correctly refrigerated. Squeeze the shell of the chestnut. If the shell gives to pressure it’s past its prime.
Included on this page are a :
Guide to Cooking Chestnuts
Chestnuts have a high water content and wiil explode when heated unless moisture is able to dissapate. Score the shell (not the nut kernal) about half way around in whatever way is easiest depending on the shape of the nut. The flatter side down gives the chestnut less opportunity to escape. Chestnuts are best cooked quickly at high heat and are more easily peeled when warm to hot..
Roasting can be done in a preheated oven at around 200º C – 220º C for 20 minutes. The chestnuts are cooked when the shells open. It’s easier to peel them quickly before they cool. The purchase of a dedicated chestnut roaster makes the task of roasting chestnuts quick and easy with a good consistent result.
Grill the scored chestnuts at around 200ºC for around 10 minutes then turn them over. They are ready when they are partly black and partly brown and the shells are split open.- 15 minutes until the shells split open. Peel while still warm.
Place scored chestuts in boiling water, with a pinch of salt, for 10 to 15 minutes. Making sure not to burn your mouth, squeeze the chestnut shell between your teeth.
Cooking chestnuts by microwave is a simple process but it is probably better to experiment a little with a small number of chestnuts until you get the settings and timing right for your appliance. Soak the chestnuts in warm water for 30 minutes. Start by placing scored chestnuts in a single layer and cook on a high setting for 60 seconds. Adjust the timing to achieve your ideal tasting chestnut.
Make sure when scoring chestnuts that the score actually cuts through the shell, otherwise you’ll “chestnut undercoat” the inside of your appliance.
There are many recipes for chestnut soup, some traditional, some more modern. The following recipe for chestnut soup serves 4 people and is quite popular.
Chestnuts for this recipe can be used raw or roasted. Roasted chestnuts are often preferred as the flavour of the soup is strengthened and the chestnut shells are more easily removed shortly after roasting.
Popular Recipes Including Chestnuts
- Recipes (Chestnuts Australia Inc.)
- Recipes (Chestnuts Online – US)
- Recipes (Recipes4us – UK)
- Recipes (Homecooking)
- Recipes (Chestnutz NZ)