|Nutritional Guidelines (per serving)|
|Amount per serving|
|% Daily Value*|
|Total Fat 1g||2%|
|Saturated Fat 0g||1%|
|Total Carbohydrate 50g||18%|
|Dietary Fiber 0g||0%|
|*The % Daily Value (DV) tells you how much a nutrient in a food serving contributes to a daily diet. 2,000 calories a day is used for general nutrition advice.|
Roasting is one of the best ways to enjoy chestnuts. Bitter when raw, roasted chestnuts have a delicate and slightly sweet flavor with a soft texture similar to sweet potato. They're especially popular around the Christmas holidays and really easy to make at home.
Beloved in Italy starting in autumn, some would argue that the best way to roast chestnuts is over hot coals, either in a fireplace or an outdoor roasting pit. When that's not practical, Italians roast them over a gas stove burner, in a simple iron pan with a perforated bottom that allows the flames to touch the chestnuts. If you do not have a special chestnut-roasting pan or a gas burner, don't despair. No special equipment is necessary to roast them in your oven.
Roasted chestnuts can be enjoyed on their own, as a festive winter snack or after-dinner treat. They pair well with a bottle of vino novello (or Beaujolais nouveau). From turkey stuffings to cakes and other desserts, you can use them in a variety of chestnut recipes, too. One simple side dish that's perfect for Thanksgiving tosses roasted chestnuts with roasted Brussels sprouts.
Click Play to See This Roasted Chestnuts Recipe Come Together
- 1/2 pound chestnuts (unpeeled, unroasted)
Gather the ingredients. Heat the oven to 425 F.
Using a sharp paring knife, make an X-shaped cut on the round side of each chestnut. This critical step keeps them from exploding from internal pressure when heated and makes peeling easier after roasting.
Arrange chestnuts on a baking rack or a baking sheet.
Transfer the chestnuts to the oven and roast them until the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened. The actual time required will depend on the chestnuts but will be at least 15 to 20 minutes.
Remove the nuts from the oven and pile them into a mound in an old towel. Wrap them up, squeeze hard—the chestnuts should crackle—and let them sit for a few minutes.
Pull and snap off the dark shells to reveal the yellowish white chestnuts. While peeling, make sure to also remove the papery skin between the shell and the chestnut.
- When selecting chestnuts, look for the largest ones you can find, with shiny shells, and a weighty feel in your hand.
Chestnuts in Italy
Italy is Europe's biggest producer of chestnuts, and a particularly prized kind is grown in the Mugello region of Tuscany. Chestnuts are in season roughly from September through January and are particularly popular around Thanksgiving, Christmas, and New Year's Eve.
The Italian language has two names for chestnuts: castagne (for the smaller, more common varieties) and marroni (for the larger, more prized heart-shaped varieties).
As autumn gets into full-swing each year, and particularly just before Christmas, roasted chestnut stalls and stands appear in seemingly every piazza and on street corners throughout Italy, selling paper cones full of the roasted delicacies. Sometimes some red wine or grappa is splashed over them while roasting.
Sagre (food festivals) celebrating the chestnut take place all across Italy in October.
Are the Worms in Chestnuts Safe?
Harvesting your own chestnuts is a fun autumn activity. Make sure you're not gathering horse chestnuts, because they are poisonous, and to pick up chestnuts within three days after they fall to the ground. Chestnut weevil larvae may be found in some chestnuts. If you notice worm exit holes in the chestnuts, discard them. To kill unhatched eggs and larvae that have not exited, The University of Missouri's Center for Agroforestry recommends soaking chestnuts for 20 minutes in water that is exactly 120 F. It's a common practice among commercial growers, and the chestnuts are then edible.
The Center for Agroforestry. University of Missouri School of Natural Resources. Chestnut Weevils. CenterForAgroForestry.org.