Gardening Magazine

Pop Go the Chestnuts

By Kate_miller

Pop Go the Chestnuts

Fresh Chestnuts, ready for the oven.

Slice an 'X' through the Chestnut shells prior to roasting. Skip this step and you'll be sorry...
Ever roasted chestnuts? Fresh from the oven, with a dash of sea salt, they're quite delightful. And, pretty easy to do, if you follow directions.
Pop Go the Chestnuts
Last Christmas, I bought a pound of fresh Chestnuts and decided to give this tradition a try.
The outcome was not nearly as cozy and romantic as I expected. They explode! In unison! When you remove them from a hot oven and they hit the cooler air it's like 4th of July all over the kitchen. So, that was not good. But, the remnants were quite tasty.
Fun Facts to Know and Tell: 
Chestnuts are one of the healthiest nuts you can nibble. Low in calories, low in fat, rich in vitamins, minerals and protein. Nutritionally similar to brown rice...
Blah, blah, blah. I rarely put things on the menu because they're good for you. That's almost always asking for trouble. Since good for you quite often equates to a flavorless mess. But, Chestnuts are different. They have a rich, yummy flavor that can fool you into thinking they're on the do not snarf list.

Pop Go the Chestnuts

Our jazzy Christmas table settings.

Roasting Chestnuts:
  • Slice a criss cross into the shells.
  • Place on a baking sheet.
  • Cook in a 375 (F) oven for about 30 minutes
  • The criss-crossed shells will curl back letting you know when they are done.
  • As soon as they're cool enough to touch, pop them out of their shells. (It's a lot easier to remove shells when they're still warm.) 
  • Spritz with a buttery flavored cooking spray.
  • Sprinkle with finely ground sea salt.
What I've learned:
* In the mountains, try a cooler oven. Bake at 375 (F) vs. the 425 you see in directions all over the web.
** No need to soak them in salt water. That's a waste of time since the moisture and salt permeate the shells, not the chestnuts, and you're throwing the shells away.

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