Now considered a comfort food, chestnuts were the poor man’s bread in 18th century France. Farmers, who sold their grains to buy salt and give money to the Church, relied on chestnuts for protein and energy. Whether boiled, roasted or mashed. the chestnut was a staple food in those regions where even the humblest cereals would not grow. Ironically, it was also the wealthy man, cure for an overly rich diet. In ancient Rome, Roman patricians visited health spas and were served chestnut soup to clean and purify their digestive systems. Unfortunately, most of America’s chestnut trees were destroyed in the blight of 1904/ That’s why the chestnut we eat in this country are imported from Europe and the Far East.
How to Pan or Oven Roast Chestnuts.
- Place fresh Chestnuts in a single layer in shallow pan.
- Make an “X” on the bottom of the Chestnut with a sharp knife, and place “X” face down in the pan.
- Cook on low heat on stove top or in an oven at 400 degrees for 6-10 minutes.
- Shaking or stirring often to keep burning until “X” cracks open.
- Let cool – and enjoy.
How to Peel a Chestnut.
To remove the chestnut’s shell and bitter skin, cut off a small strip of the shell, and cook the chestnuts in boiling water for a minute. Remove from heat, and peel with a sharp knife. Return any “difficult” chestnuts to boiling water and repeat the process.
Source: Martha Steward