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Information About Chestnuts

[Cooking]  [Curing]  [Storage]    [Peeling]

Cooking

There are many different methods for cooking chestnuts. How to roast chestnuts is, by far, our most frequently asked question. Listed below are a few ways in which they are commonly cooked. Please visit our recipes page for a few gourmet chestnut recipe ideas. If you would prefer a more extensive list of chestnut recipes, please e-mail or call.

Like popcorn, fresh chestnuts have a closed shell with moisture trapped inside. When roasting, the moisture can forcefully pop the nut open. Always slit the shell to allow the steam pressure to escape. Otherwise the nut will burst with a small explosion.

Oven Roasted Chestnuts - Method 1 (Oven Roasted)

1. Preheat the oven to 375 degrees Fahrenheit.
2. With a sharp knife, make a slit through both the smooth outer shell and the
textured inner skin. This will allow the steam pressure to escape as the nut heats
up.
3. Place the nuts in a shallow pan.
4. Roast in the oven for approximately 25-35 minutes. You may wish to turn them
over after 5-10 minutes for a more evenly roasted chestnut.
5. Take out of the oven and let cool slightly before peeling both shell and skin (they
will peel more easily when they are still warm).
Enjoy!

Oven Roasted Chestnuts - Method 2 (Oven Broiled)

1. Turn on your oven's broiler.
2. Score the nuts as mentioned in method 1.
3. Place the scored nuts in a shallow pan.
4. Place the pan on the top rack of the oven.
5. Broil the nuts until the outer shell blackens slightly. Again, you may wish
to turn them over after a few minutes for a more evenly roasted chestnut.
6. Broil for approximately 7-10 minutes more.
7. Take out of the oven and let cool slightly before peeling both the outer shell and
the inner skin (they will peel more easily when they are still warm).
Enjoy!

Boiling

1. Place the nuts in a pot of boiling water.
2. Boil for approximately 30 minutes.
3. With a slotted spoon, transfer several of the nuts to a work surface.
4. Peel both the outer shell and the inner skin while they are still warm.
Enjoy!

Note: Some cultures add sugar or salt to the water while boiling them to enhance the flavor.

Other Methods Of Cooking Chestnuts

1. Chestnuts roasting over an open fire in a special perforated chestnut roasting pan.

2. On the stovetop burner in a skillet over medium heat for approximately 15 minutes.

3. In the microwave for about one minute at high setting.

4. Oven roasted with a small amount of water (~1/8") in a shannolw pan.

NOTES:

  •   Vary the cooking time to suit for all of the methods listed above.  The larger sized chestnuts need to be cooked longer.

  •   If the chestnuts are allowed to cool off too much after they are cooked, they can become harder to peel.  If this happens, just put them back into the oven or boiling water to reheat.

  •   The pre-peeled/pre-cooked chestnuts are partially cooked and fully peeled.  They can be added to recipes requiring chestnuts or simply eaten just as they are.

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Peeling

1. Chestnuts have an outer shell and an inner skin, which seals the nut.
2. The outer shell is smooth, shiny, and durable.
3. The inner skin (next to the meat) is more textured.
4. Both outer shell and inner skin must be removed before eating.
5. Both shell and skin are removed more easily after they have been cooked and are still warm.

 

NOTES:

  •   Much like a peanut, a chestnut has an outer shell with an inner skin that surrounds the nut   meat. Unlike a peanut, the inner skin of a chestnut does not slide off the nut easily. In addition, the inner skin of a chestnut has a very bitter flavor and must be removed before consuming. Fortunately, our chestnut variety is very easy to peel. Other varieties maybe harder to peel.

  •  Scoring techniques can also make peeling easier. We like to remove the very tip of the nut (~1/8”) and score down both sides of the chestnut (about ¾ of the way). During roasting, the chestnut often opens up like a clamshell making it easier to peel.

  •   Since roasted chestnuts should be peeled while they are still quite warm, you may consider peeling them with a towel or oven mitt.

  •   Giving the chestnut a slight pop with the palm of your hand after removing them from the oven loosens the inner skin, which makes peeling easier.

  •   Some of our customers have told us that par boiling the chestnuts prior to roasting them makes them easier to peel.

  • Other customers have told us that immersing the chestnut in ice water immediately after removing them from the oven or heat source loosens the inner skin, which makes the peeling process easier.

 

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Curing

Our chestnuts are harvested fresh and because of this, we recommend an important curing process be followed prior to cooking. Curing makes the nuts far easier to peel as it allows the nut to shrink away from the inner skin (the pellicle). It also ripens and sweetens the nut, as the starches in the nut are converted to sugar.

This is what we suggest:
1. Put the chestnuts in a bowl and leave at room temperature.
2. On a daily or semi daily basis, pinch the nut between your thumb and
forefinger. If there is no give, the nut needs more curing time. If there is a
slight give between the outer shell and the nut inside, the nut has begun the
curing process. Note: a small dimple in the outer shell may be noticed. This is
caused because the nut is shrinking away from the outer shell and pellicle.
3. Once the chestnuts are properly cured i.e. the outer shell and pellicle are
easily removed from the nut, they are ready for cooking.

Tips: - Do not over cure the nut as it could dry out and become hard.
- Curing under sunlight can speed up the process. Again be careful not to over
cure.
- The curing process can take between 2 to 7 days.
- Naturally, during shipment, the curing process has already begun.


Storage

Chestnut storage is not the same as most nuts. Fresh chestnuts should be stored like carrots. Chestnuts are comprised of about 40-50% water and thus if not stored properly, they will spoil. Therefore, chestnuts should be stored with great care and attention. The ideal storage conditions for chestnuts are 33-35 degrees Fahrenheit and 85-90% humidity. We recommend storing chestnuts in covered containers in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Stored properly in the refrigerator, chestnuts can have a shelf life of approximately 2-3 weeks.

 

If you plan to use the chestnuts soon after receiving them, simply place them in a covered container in the coldest part of the refrigerator. The colder, the better.

 

Otherwise, for long-term storage, we recommend three freezer methods:

  •   Cook and peel the chestnuts. Place them in a plastic freezer bag or vacuum seal them. Place them in the freezer for use later.

  •   Partially cook the chestnuts at 375 degrees Fahrenheit for 10-15 minutes. Place the unpeeled partially cooked chestnuts in a plastic freezer bag or vacuum seal them. Place them in the freezer. When ready to use later, remove them from the freezer. Thaw them out and finish cooking them in the oven or microwave. Cooking times will vary depending on the size of the chestnuts.

  •   Place the chestnuts as you received them (raw, uncooked) into a plastic freezer bag or vacuum seal them. When ready to use them, thaw them out and cook to the instructions listed in the brochure. Be certain not to store these in the refrigerator after thawing, as the shelf life is dramatically reduced after freezing them in a raw state.

 

NOTES:

  •   The pre-peeled/pre-cooked chestnuts can be stored at room temperature for up to a year. After opening the vacuum seal pouch, the pre-peeled/pre-cooked chestnuts should be stored in the refrigerator and consumed within two to three weeks.

 

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