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- Do You Love to Have Chestnuts as a Holiday Treat?
Do You Love to Have Chestnuts as a Holiday Treat?
Chestnuts are always popular holiday treats. However, only a few people today seem to know how to prepare them to eat. The most important thing is the intense heat to cook the chestnuts to make them sweet and wonderful. Chances are you have the perfect piece of cooking equipment sitting on your patio—your grill. It doesn’t matter that either it is a gas or charcoal grill, its job is to provide the kind of heat needed to cook chestnuts to its perfection.
Chestnuts are harvested in North America in the late fall and they are a very good addition to holiday entertainment. Start looking for fresh chestnuts in late October and mid-November. Likely fresh chestnuts will be in stores until late December
How to Roast Chestnuts on a Grill
Step 1-Prepping the Chestnuts
The first thing to do is to check that the chestnuts are fine and throw out any that are cracked, moldy, or making a rattling sound when you shake them. If the meat is dried out, the chestnuts will rattle with a hard sound like there is a marble inside. These are no good and should be tossed.
Step 2-Washing the Chestnuts
Before you put them on the grill, rinse them thoroughly. It will help to reduce the charring on the surface as they will roast and also soften the shells for later use when it will be time to peel the nuts. Also, it will wash off any remaining dust and dirt.
Step 3-Dry Them
Once the chestnuts are washed, it is time to dry them with a paper towel. Next, cut them. You must have heard about chestnuts popping on an open fire, but basically, you do not want them to pop out.
To keep them from literally exploding, cut a little X in the shell of the chestnut to let out the steam as they cook. This is easily done by pushing the point of a paring knife through the shell anywhere on the nut.
Step 4-Grilling the Chestnuts
Preheat the grill to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. If you think that the chestnuts will fall from the cooking grate then place them in a grill basket, grill wok, or in a pie tin with holes punched into the bottom. Or else put the chestnuts directly onto the cooking grate. The cooking time is roughly 15 minutes but be careful not to burn them. Chestnuts should be turned or tossed around on the grill every 5 minutes so that they cook evenly and the shells do not burn excessively. This process works the same on both gas and charcoal grills. Just watch the temperature to keep it as close to 400 F as possible.
Step 5-When the Chestnuts Are Done
Chestnuts will be cooked after 15 minutes. The undone chestnuts will taste bitter, but when they are properly cooked they will have a sweet and buttery flavor. The chestnuts are done when the shells have a little charring on the surface and the X you made is opened up, allowing you to see the meat of the chestnut inside.
When done, remove the chestnuts from the grill and allow them to cool to the point where you can handle them comfortably.
Step 6-Shelling the Chestnuts
When the chestnuts are cooled down sufficiently, it is time to get them out of their shells. Do not let them cool down too much since they are best served warm. The shells of the chestnuts should be hard and easily broken. Using cut X, pull open the shells and remove the meat. These nuts are deliciously eaten straight from the shell or perfect in any number of dishes, including stuffing, soups, and puddings.
How to Store Chestnuts
After buying the chestnuts, store them in the refrigerator. Once they are cooked you can store them in the refrigerator in a sealed container for 3 to 4 days. It’s key to buy and make these in a short period of time.
Expert Tips about Chestnuts
- Cook the chestnuts shortly after buying them as they get spoiled so fast.
- Using a serrated knife score your nuts before roasting to help make peeling them a breeze.
- You can eat the nuts plain or mix them with some sugar and add them to a food processor to make chestnut cream, stuffing, to use in desserts, and more.
- You can boil the chestnuts or roast them in the oven or on a gas stove. If you have a gas stove they make special pans for roasting chestnuts.
- Keep an eye out for bad chestnuts. I included a picture below of a chestnut that started to mold. Many stores won’t refrigerate these and that causes them to go bad more quickly. Avoid these nuts and throw them away.
Frequently Asked Questions
Q1: How to tell if the nuts are bad?
Ans: Remember that the good chestnuts will sink to the bottom of a bowl of water. However, the rotten ones will rise up to the top. So, when buying them make sure to buy them loose or in a mesh bag. Most grocery stores don’t keep refrigerated and so they can go bad quicker.
Q2: How to remove the shell when it sticks to the crevices of the chestnut?
Ans: It is indeed a very common issue, for that you just have to break the nut and it helps it come out of those crevices. Use a set of nut pickers, a fork, or even a toothpick.
Q3: Do we have to soak chestnuts before roasting?
Ans: All chestnuts should be rinsed in water, before roasting. While rinsing is required, you can skip the soaking.
Q4: Do chestnuts need to be roasted?
Ans: Roasting chestnuts is a traditional way to cook up your nuts. They are a bit of work but grilled roasted chestnuts make wonderful snacks, in addition to holiday stuffing, or topping salads.
Q5: Are chestnuts better roasted or boiled?
Ans: You will find that roasting a chestnut brings out so much more flavor than boiling.
To Wrap it Up
Roasting chestnuts over an open fire or charcoal is a true holiday entertainment idea, also a delicious snack. This article will be helpful for you through the tools needed to roast chestnuts so that you can have a great holiday!