Chestnut Fresh Cooking Tips
CAUTION: Before using ANY cooking method, with a sharp knife, FIRST score the chestnuts. Make a long penetrating line, slicing across their fat middle. The cut MUST go through their shell and pellicle to allow proper cooking. Otherwise, cooking un-scored chestnuts will burst and splatter all over, possibly causing injury. The taste of raw fresh uncooked chestnuts, without the outer soft shell and inner pellicle (a paper thin covering right next to the yellow kernel, should have the consistency of an uncooked carrot or potato. When cooked, the kernel will soften. If the chestnut is undercooked, the outside of the chestnut will be soft and the inside will be hard. If overcooked, the chestnut will dry out and harden.
Chestnut Conventional Oven Roasting: At 300-325 degrees F. (experiment with your oven) bake for about 15-20 minutes to produce this form of roasted chestnut. To help keep moisture in when using this cooking method, place a small pan of water in the oven. When done, remove the nut kernels with a small fork and eat as is, or if you wish, dip each in butter or olive oil, and salt to taste.
Chestnut Open Fire Roasting: Put fresh scored whole chestnuts over an open fire, like a campfire, or a grill. Depending on the heat source (electric, gas or coals), chestnuts should be roasted in about 15-20 minutes. The nuts will cook more evenly if they are in constant motion, either by shaking the pan, or wearing an old thick glove, and hand stirring them constantly, till roasted.
Chestnut Boiling: An easy method of cooking chestnuts. First, cut them in half with a sharp knife, or score them. Boil for 10-15 minutes. As the opening enlarges, on the scored type, or ‘smiles yellow’ at you, they are ready to be removed from the water. It’s best to take out one or two nuts at a time, and peel them out of their shell and inner pellicle. If they start to cool too much, peeling will be more difficult. The longer nuts are cooked, the more they will crumble more upon removal from their shell.
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