Chestnuts roasting on an open fire...

That's what we normally think of when someone mentions chestnuts and yet a lot of us, including me, have never partaken in this decidedly December tradition, aside from my mother's Chestnut Soup (I'll post this recipe someday as it is to die for).

How to roast chestnuts

If you missed out on this Christmas treat and they seem too daunting a delicacy for you to make, I have to stop you there. I found that they are quite a different taste and well worth the effort. The nutty yet sweet flavour will delight your taste buds and totally make you realize why they're mentioned in one of the most popular songs of the holiday season.

Bonus! I found these in the reduced section of our grocery store 5 days after Christmas. Someone bagged them and left them, probably thinking about how much effort they'd be to peel and so someone's trash became our 30% off treasure. They are a bit of work but I found the experience introspective and meaningful. You'll find you really enjoy food that takes you a while to prepare and I got quite invested in the experience, myself.
 

Instructions for roasting chestnuts


Here's the easy part...

  1. Score an 'x' on all your chestnuts.

  2. Preheat your oven to 400 Farenheit.

  3. Cook for 30 minutes.

Here's the hard part...

Now comes the daunting task of peeling each one. If you scored them all this part will be much easier. My formally trained chef, husband and I did this together but he only scored a line across the top rather than an 'x' so we spent about 40 min, removing shells.

From left to right: A whole chestnut, the shell and husk, final edible chestnut

From left to right: A whole chestnut, the shell and husk, final edible chestnut

Tips

  • Make sure you peel them when they are warm to the touch and NOT when they are finger burning hot.

  • Smash them gently with a wide bladed butter knife or the palm of your hand until you hear a crack

  • I found that wiggling the shell back and forth over the inside loosened the grip that held the shell to the husk.

An activity for families and couples

We’re so disconnected from one another these days. This recipe, while time-consuming became a nice thing to do with someone I love. We got very focused and so while we were together, we were lost in our own thoughts but still actively together. It's a great activity to do with loved ones over the holidays when you may find there's more time to indulge in these types of tasks.

Peeling chestnuts are good for you

Upon further study I found out that chestnuts have very little protein or fat unlike other nuts. 100 grams of chestnuts have about 180 calories. They're high in vitamin C though, containing about 65% of your daily intake in 100 grams!

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