Chestnuts are available in the late fall and/or early winter. Chestnuts can be prepared and enjoyed at home, in order to bring some of this sweet late fall magic into our homes. Majority of chestnuts that wind up in grocery stores are imported from other countries which include, but not limited to: France, Italy, Portugal, China, South Korea and Japan. Always try to roast your store bought chestnuts within 2-3 days as the freshness will not last very long, even in the fridge.
You have to select chestnuts that are firm, shiny and ones that do not have any tiny holes around them. Do not buy chestnuts if too many of them have holes.
Beware of chestnuts that feel hollow if you knock them lightly, just like walnuts, hollow chestnuts are bad. Soak the chestnuts, in water for a few hours. If there is a worm in any of them, they will crawl out. Secondly, and the most important part yet, run a sharp knife, making a cut across the flat side of the shell of each chestnut. You can also cut an X. Be careful not to cut yourself. Slice only through the tough skin, not the flesh.
How To Roast Chestnuts
Soak the chestnuts, in water for a few hours. If there is a worm in any of them, they will crawl out. Secondly, and the most important part yet, run a sharp knife, making a cut across the flat side of the shell of each chestnut. You can also cut an X. Be careful not to cut yourself. Slice only through the tough skin, not the flesh.
- Boil the chestnuts. Place the chestnuts in a pot of cold water. As soon as the water begins to boil, remove the chestnuts with a slotted spoon and place on a shallow baking pan. This quick boil will create the perfect environment for steam to be created once they hit the hot oven.
- Preheat oven to 425°F. A very hot oven is key for the chestnut to separate from its woodsy skin. Make sure the oven rack is placed in the middle. Wipe nuts with a damp cloth. Place chestnuts on a shallow baking pan and place in the oven to roast for about 30 to 40 minutes, depending on size of nuts. Shake pan several times to rotate chestnuts so they will cook evenly.
If you are not sure whether the chestnuts are fully roasted, break a few of them open and test them, but be careful, as the chestnuts may still burst and they could cause burns. Make sure to peel the chestnuts while still warm. It becomes harder to peel once they cool off. Do not cover while cooling, as this makes them harder to peel. If you can not peel the chestnuts place them back into the oven for a few minutes to warm up and try again.