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Chestnuts

Chestnuts are grown in many parts of the world but France, where they are called marrons, is one of its biggest producers.  Available during late fall and winter, they are often used in holiday desserts.  Their flavor complements that of cranberries, apples, pears and chocolate.

With its glossy, mahogany-colored hard shell, these nuts have a mild, subtle flavor.  However, they need to be cooked and are fantastic roasted and eaten while still warm.  To remove the shell you need to make an "X" on the chestnut's flat side and bake in a 375 degree F (190 degree C) oven for 10-15 minutes.  This loosens the shell and makes them easier to peel. 

Fresh unshelled chestnuts can be stored at room temperature but once they are shelled, they will only keep a few days in the refrigerator stored in an airtight container.

Chestnuts are available in many forms;  fresh in their shells; preserved in sugar (marrons glac?) either whole or in pieces;  sweetened or unsweetened pur?s in cans or tubes; chestnut flour; and dried chestnuts.

 

 

"Chestnuts roasting on an open fire
Jack Frost nipping at your nose......"

- The Christmas Song by Mel Torm?& Robert Wells

The words to this famous holiday carol probably originated in the tradition that chestnuts were nestled in the hot ashes of an open fire where they were roasted until cooked and easy to peel.

Chestnuts:

1 cup unsweetened puree = 260 grams

1 pound = 480 grams