Australian chestnuts are in season mid-March until July.
Chestnuts different from other nuts, their sweet-toasty flavour and natural goodness is only unlocked on cooking.
Roasting chestnuts will fill your kitchen with sweet, mouth-watering and delectable fragrance that is only surpassed by chestnuts unique, toasty-nutty flavour, texture and versatility.
Nutritionally chestnuts shine, they are low in fat, provide a variety of nutrients including folate, potassium, Vitamin C and antioxidant. Weight watchers love that chestnuts are low in kilojoules with a 30 gram serve providing 217 kJ (52 Cal).
Blend chestnuts into weekly meals with a simple COOK, PEEL and FREEZE approach. Boil or roast one kilo of fresh chestnuts, (it only takes 20-30 minutes). Set aside a quantity for immediate use, and then freeze the remainder, for adding extra taste, nutrition and texture to midweek meals like
• Spaghetti Bolognese, hamburger patties or San choy bow.
• Roast with seasonal vegetables
• Mash chestnuts with potatoes or sweet potatoes to serve as a side dish.
The freshest chestnuts have a glossy brown firm shell and feel heavy for their size.
Refrigerate uncooked chestnuts in a paper bag in the crisper for 2 to 3 days or in an airtight container for up to 10 days. Cooked chestnuts can be stored in the refrigerator in an airtight container for up to 4 days. For longer storage, freeze cooked and peeled chestnuts in small freezer bags for up to 6 months.
Firstly cut a shallow cross into the flat side of the chestnut shell, which prevents the nut from overheating and bursting while cooking. When boiling, cut the chestnuts in half across the width of the chestnut before cooking.
Preheat oven to 200°C (180°C fan-forced). Place prepared chestnuts onto a baking tray and bake for 15 to 20 minutes or until the shells split open.
Place prepared chestnuts into a pan of cold water and bring to the boil. Simmer for 15 to 20 minutes or until the flesh is tender and easily separates from the shell.
1 kg of chestnuts yields approximately 700g of cooked and peeled chestnuts.
Like most fresh produce chestnuts are available in different varieties. Some varieties are easier to peel than others and some are better for mashing, roasting or boiling. Chestnut varieties include Red Spanish, De Coppi Marone, Purton’s Pride, Premium Gold and Perfection.
Recipe: Chestnut & bacon green beans
1 tbs olive oil
125g rindless bacon, finely chopped
1 garlic clove, finely chopped
200g cooked and peeled chestnuts, roughly chopped
350g green beans, trimmed
1 tsp finely grated lemon rind
1 Heat oil into a large frying pan over medium-high heat. Add bacon and cook, stirring often, for 3 minutes. Add garlic and chestnuts and cook, stirring often, for 2-3 minutes or until chestnuts are golden and bacon is crisp.
2 Meanwhile, plunge beans into a medium saucepan of boiling water, cover and bring to the boil. Cook beans for 2-3 minutes or until just tender. Drain beans.
3 Add beans to chestnut mixture. Toss over heat until well combined. Season to taste. Sprinkle with lemon rind and serve.
Note: The chestnut & bacon mixture also teams well with steamed cauliflower, carrots, Brussels sprouts and broccolini.
The Carousel thanks Sue Dodd for this recipe.