How to cook chestnuts: 4 ways to cook chestnuts and how to store them

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How to cook chestnuts? How do you make sure that chestnuts just bought or harvested are cooked correctly so that their taste is magnified? Cooker, fireplace, but also oven: these are the most popular ways to cook chestnuts and eat them alone or as an accompaniment to other ingredients. Let’s find out all about chestnuts, even how to choose them and how to store them, both raw and cooked.

All you have to know about chestnuts

Chestnuts have many properties that are good for our body. They are cholesterol-free but rich in mineral salts, contain a good number of fibers and are highly energy-efficient. Naturally gluten-free, chestnuts contain a lot of phosphorus that makes them important for the nervous system and are recommended in case of anemia and iron deficiency; they are also considered important for the well-being of the intestine and as anti-inflammatory agents. They are contraindicated in case of colitis and aerophage problems.

How to choose and pick up chestnuts

Chestnuts, although we often forget it, must be chosen according to certain criteria that guarantee their goodness. If you decide to collect them, remember that you only have to collect those that have already fallen from the tree, a guarantee of goodness.
If you shop at the supermarket or the grocery store, remember to check that they are intact, with a solid shell and a smooth skin: if the skin is wrinkled, it means that the chestnuts are old, and if the skin has small holes, it means the chestnut has been attacked by parasites.

Let’s explore the 4 ways to cook chestnuts

How to cook chestnuts on the fireplace the Italian way

The so-called roasted chestnuts are cooked on a lively fire on a pan with holes. The classic Italian cooking method for preparing the roasted chestnuts is the chimney: just chest the chestnuts by practicing a horizontal cut of about 2 cm in length without reaching the pulp, place them in an especially prone frying pan and place them on a hot flame. In the case of the fireplace, just prepare the embers and place above them the pan with the chestnuts, taking care to mix often to prevent the chestnuts from burning. The roast chestnuts cooked on the fireplace are ready when they are roasted outside, the cut has opened and inside they have become quite yellow.

How to cook chestnuts in the oven

Baked chestnuts are quick and easy to cook: place them on a large, non-stick baking tray (or a tray covered with oven paper) and bake at medium temperature (180°C/200°C – 356°F/392°F) for a maximum of 30 minutes depending on the size of the chestnuts. Even in this case, the chestnut outside will be toasted at the end of the cooking and the engraving will be enlarged. The same operation can be repeated using the microwave oven and calculating a cooking time of up to 3 minutes at maximum power.

 

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How to cook chestnuts on a stove without the pan with holes

If you do not have a fireplace and you do not want to use the oven, you can cook your chestnuts in a pan so that they are similar to the ones roasted in the oven or on the fireplace. The procedure is simple: leave to soften in salt water for 10 minutes then drain, apply an incision and place your chestnuts on a non-stick frying pan, making sure the engraving is upward. Cook the chestnuts for 5 minutes at medium flame then turn and cook for 5 minutes more; the chestnuts will be ready when slightly toasted on the surface.

How to boil chestnuts

A very common cooking method is that on a stove. Chestnuts must be cut and poured into a sufficiently large pot; cover with cold water (unsalted) and allow to cook until ready, which occurs by inserting a fork into a chestnut or simply by tasting. Chestnuts can be boiled both with and without peel: in both cases, they will have to be peeled off when still warm so that the skin and fur coat can be removed easily.

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If you have bought or picked chestnuts and want to store them before baking, here are the best ways to keep chestnuts fresh.

Store chestnuts in a freezer

To store the chestnuts in a freezer just clean them for good without washing and engrave them.  Put the chestnuts in a bag and freeze; they can be used for up to 12 months and will be immersed as they are in the water if you want to boil or cook in the oven or on the fireplace without being thawed. Chestnuts can be frozen even when cooked: just skin them and place them in the appropriate bags, remembering that the storage time, in this case, drops to a maximum of 6 months.

Store chestnuts in water

The so-called drainage method requires that chestnuts are put into water for 4 days, changing half of the water every 24 hours. After 4 days, the water has to be completely changed for the next 5 days keeping the chestnuts constantly immersed in the liquid. Once the last 5 days have passed, the chestnuts are drained and dried on a rigid and fresh work surface, turning them often. Once completely dry, they can be stored for 3 months in a cool and dry place. This method is mainly used for chestnuts harvested directly and not for purchased ones.