How To Roast Chestnuts

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We’ve all heard the “chestnuts roasting on an open fire” song popularized by Nat King Cole, but have you ever roasted your own? Whether you have or haven’t, here are three reasons why it may be worth trying this holiday season:

  • Nostalgia. Roasting chestnuts for some—and the smells and tastes that go along with it—might be intensely nostalgic. And for those who have never roasted before, it’s sure to create memories that will be nostalgic in years to come.
  • Similarly, it’s important to connect with our past. There’s something oddly satisfying about taking part in a tradition that dates back hundreds of years.
  • Roasting chestnuts is a wholesome and easy way to connect with people you love. Put on some Christmas music, put the phones down, and follow these simple steps. Keep in mind chestnuts require a soaking period of at least ten hours, so factor this in before getting the sudden urge to roast them.

Ready to get going? Sweet. Follow these to arrive in chestnut roasting heaven:

  1. Obtain said chestnuts. Most grocery stores start selling them around the holiday season. Health food stores, like Whole Foods, are almost sure to carry them. Once you get your chestnuts, reopen this article and proceed to step 2.
  2. Welcome back. Got your chestnuts? They’re bigger than you thought they were, right? When you’re ready, inspect said chestnuts. There are two things to look for here:
    1. Any holes in the shell. This may mean a little critter now calls the chestnut home. (In all seriousness, can you imagine living in a chestnut?)
    1. Squeeze the chestnuts. If you’re getting a crunchy sound, that means they’re old, and can be discarded.
  3. Next, score the chestnuts. Place them rounded side up on a cutting board, and using a sharp knife, cut an X into the top. Please don’t skip this step. Not only will this “score” make them much easier to peel, but not doing so can cause the chestnuts to explode while roasting.
  4. Place them in a large bowl with water and let them soak overnight. Return back to step 5 after doing so.
  5. Welcome back. How did you sleep last night? How do your chestnuts look? They should feel a bit softer. When you’re ready, preheat your oven to 350 degrees, pat dry your chestnuts with a kitchen towel, and arrange them scored side up on a baking sheet.
  6. Roast chestnuts for about a half hour. You’ll know they’re done when the “score” begins to open up and peel back.
  7. Remember that kitchen towel you used to dry your chestnuts? Turn on the sink and dampen it with water. Once it’s dampened, place the chestnuts on the towel. Once they’re all on, fold the corners of the towel together and twist. What we’re going for here is to create something of a “bag” to trap the heat and steam the chestnuts. You should start to hear them crackle. Let them sit for about fifteen minutes.
  8. Peel! Peel the chestnuts by pulling back the scored X section.
  9. Enjoy them as-is or perhaps try including them in another delish recipe. Store them in the fridge for about four to five days. Voila!

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