2016-12-15 / Life in Leelanau

Get cracking, roast chestnuts on your open fire

Roasting chestnuts in the oven (or over hot coals) is probably the most common method, and definitely the most flavorful. The nuts come lightly browned and aromatic, and can be eaten warm from the oven, tossed with olive oil and salt, or used in a recipe.

First, using a sharp knife, score an X on the flat side of each chestnut. This will make shelling easier and also let steam escape while the nuts roast. Be sure to cut all the way through the shell, and only slightly into the meat of the nut. Arrange the nuts cut-side up on a rimmed backing sheet, and roast at 425 degrees for about 20 minutes, or until the shells have begun to open and peel back where they were cut. Some of them may not open up and the nut inside is probably bad. Discard those.

Let the nuts cool only slightly before peeling them. The shells will come off much easier if the nuts are still warm. Chestnuts have a hard outer shell as well as a papery inner skin, so be sure to remove both.

Once all the chestnuts are peeled, they’re ready to be eaten or used in a recipe. Or, they can be stored in an airtight container in the fridge for up to a few days.

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