About Chestnuts

About Chestnuts

Lower in fat than most nuts, chestnuts have just 37 calories and less than 1 gram of fat per ounce (cooked). They add rich, earthy flavor to salads, stuffing and rice dishes. Look for fresh, unshelled chestnuts in markets from September to February. Around the same time, you'll find chestnuts in cans, which save time-consuming step of peeling.

 The Basic

  • To choose - Look for plump, firm nuts with no blemishes on the shell.

  • To store - Refrigerate in a zipper-lock plastic bag for up to 2 weeks. Or freeze for up to 5 months.

  • To roast and peel - Cut in a slit in the flat part of the shell to prevent the nuts from exploding. Place on a baking sheet and roast at 400oF for 10 minutes (if peeling only) for 20 minutes (if you want to cook them all the way through). Using a kitchen towel or oven mitts, remove and discard the shells and inner brown skins while the nuts are still hot. (If you let them cool, they are more difficult to peel). Chop or use as desired.

  • To boil and peel - Cut a slit in the shells, place the nuts in a saucepan with water to cover, and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium and simmer for 4 minutes (to peel only), or cover and simmer for 25 minutes (to cook until tender). Peel and chop or use as desired.

  • To microwave - Cut a slit in the flat part of the shell. Place the chestnuts in a shallow, microwaveable dish and cook on high power for 8 minutes per pound of chestnuts. Peel while warm.

  • To intensify flavor and make texture more velvety - Cut a slit in the shells, place in a covered casserole dish with 2 tablespoons water, and bake at 425oF until tender when pierced with a knife, 30 minutes. Peel while warm.

More Cooking Guide

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