Fresh Chestnuts grow in pairs within round spiky green flowers. The hard, thin-shelled nuts are a shiny brown and measure between 3 and 4 centimeters in diameter. Each nut has one flattened side, where it was pressed against the second seed as it developed. The flesh is a creamy white with a firm, crisp texture. They have a starchy, meaty texture when boiled or roasted and have a mild and slightly sweet flavor.
Fresh Chestnuts are used in both sweet and savory applications. They are roasted on the stove or in the oven and served on their own or prepared like a vegetable. Before cooking, the shells are scored to make them easier to peel. Once cooked they can be chopped for use in stuffing, risottos, and pasta dishes. Prepared Fresh Chestnuts are dehydrated and ground into flour for use as a gluten-free substitute.
Fresh Chestnuts will keep in the refrigerator for up to 2 months. They can be frozen for longer storage.
Roasted Chestnuts with Sage
2 cups fresh unshelled chestnuts
2 tablespoons fresh sage leaves
2 tablespoons unsalted butter, melted
1/2 teaspoon sea salt
- Preheat the oven to 425 degrees.
- Fill a medium pot with water and bring to a boil. Turn off heat, add chestnuts and let stand for 1 minute. Remove chestnuts from the pot and set them aside on paper towels to drain.
- Using a serrated knife, carefully cut an X on the rounded side of each chestnut.
- In a medium bowl, combine the chestnuts, sage leaves, butter, and salt; toss to combine.
- Line a baking sheet with foil. Pour the chestnut mixture onto the prepared baking sheet and arrange in a single layer. Gather edges of foil around the chestnuts, leaving a large opening on top.
- Bake until the shells begin to peel back and the chestnuts are cooked for 30-35 minutes.
- Serve hot or warm.