Changing those old chestnuts.

@thea09 (18329)
Greece
October 8, 2009 6:24am CST
I have always loved chestnuts since childhood when they first came off the fire, burning hot on the outside, only to be peeled and dipped in salt. I indulge every winter either cooked on the top of a woodburner, or grilled. I've never considered preparing them any other way. Yesterday whilst having coffee with our avatar here, (having called round for extra supplies of olive oil and pomegrantes) he produced a large bowl of boiled chestnuts. Peeled and dipped in salt they were perfect. He insisted I bring the rest of them home and hours later they were still soft inside, rather than hard after being grilled. So what change have you suddenly made to something you've always been used to which has taken you by suprise? Please feel free to digress.
5 people like this
13 responses
• Australia
8 Oct 09
Thea, I have fond memories of collecting chestnuts which had fallen from a large overhanging tree on my way home from school in England more than 60 years ago. I'm sure they were just put in the fire, but I'm not sure. I have tried buying them here in Australia and cooking them in the oven, but they are hard to shell and hard to eat. For how long would you boil them? Would you cut the shells first, as you do when baking? I'd like to try them boiled. I am a creature of habit, I suppose, but I can't think of anything I've changed lately.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Hi cloudwatcher, no need to change anything at all except maybe a different away to approach chestunts. The avatar had made no incision at all in the shells which suprised me as I thought they would have exploded without doing so, but possibly if he had done so they might have ended up soggy inside. He said he boiled them for 20 minutes, nothing could be easeir. A small incision before eating allowed the nut to be squeezed out, but difficult to remove the inner brown bit but nice enough to eat. There are no chestunt trees around this area so I presume they reach the markets from further north, but they will be in season from now until well into the new year.
• Australia
8 Oct 09
Thanks Thea. I'm sure the ones in the shops here would be imported. They certainly wouldn't grow in Queensland! I'll get some when I return from Townsville and try boiling them. Thanks for the info.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
You're most welcome.
@zed_k4 (17634)
• Singapore
8 Oct 09
Ah...I so love roasted chestnuts. They are so perfect, so delicious, and moreover, reminded me so much of my childhood, lol. Sometimes food can bring so many fond memories back, right..
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Hi zed, I'm happy to invoke happy memories for you. I had no idea that chestnuts were available over your way, I presumed they flourished in colder climates having been used to them in the UK. Anyway if you can find any this year I for one can now recommend the boiled method.
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@zed_k4 (17634)
• Singapore
9 Oct 09
That's the funny thing here. The more hot the weather, the more people love to eat things that are suited for cold weather, LOL. Roasted chestnuts can be seen everywhere throughout the island here and the crunchiness, I suppose is what makes people super crazy.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
9 Oct 09
I've only ever had chestnuts in cold weather, ok this years a bit odd as the first chestnuts appear to be early and the weather is now hot, so its probably the first time I've ever eaten chestnuts in hot weather, but it would be too hot to roast them. I go for hot food in winter and salads in summer, but the odd time when it is very hot I'll fancy something like a Thai tomyom soup, clear but very very hot.
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90961)
• Marion, Kansas
8 Oct 09
You know, the population of chestnut trees in the US was greatly diminished in the 1920's by disease. They are on a comeback. I had not ever had them until a family member was temporarily living in Columbia, Mo. They host an annual "Chestut Roast" and serve lots of fine foods, including recipes made with chestnuts. This is not really a great on topic answer, but I needed to include it. I think I get to go again this year.I will post pics and recipes. I think the microwave will be what has changed my cooking most. Also the bread machine. They are shortcuts, but they expand my cooking and tasting pleasure. I love bread machine bread, and I can add lots of healthy ingredients. Always use olive oil in my breads.. If I go, I will add something about it to my blog.
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 Oct 09
A bread machine might be a gadget I'd invest in at some stage..I was just looking at cookery websites last night that had various recipes for Pizza dough and they mentioned using a breadmaker to prepare them..
1 person likes this
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Hi Gerty and Sam, I'd like to get a bread machine too and they had some quite cheap ones in town at the weekend at about £50 but as the previous ones had been so much more pricey I don't know about the quality of these. I shall draw on your advice here Gerty as I've never used one, do they take all the physical work out of the kneading of the dough. Then do you need to still let it rise or does it just sit in the machine? Tell all as it would be good to have fresh bread without all the work and there's so many herbs and things outside to go in. Enjoy the chestnut festival if you go
1 person likes this
@GardenGerty (90961)
• Marion, Kansas
9 Oct 09
You can bake in your bread machine, but I do not like it, as the little "Paddle" that stirs and kneads the dough leaves a little hole in the bottom of the loaf. My bread machine was not expensive, only about $40 if I remember correctly. The machine I have has several different options, including a cycle that just mixes up the dough and then stops the cycle. You then turn the dough into a pan, and let it rise a little and bake it. Not a really long rise, but about like a half hour in a warm place. In the dough making cycle there are mixing cycles and resting cycles that take care of the initial rising, I am sure. From the beginning to dough ready to put in pans takes 1 hr. 20 minutes. Baking it clear through from start to finish in the machine is 3 hours.
@whitf0rd (32)
• United States
9 Oct 09
I can't say I have ever even eaten a chestnut. I am 20, I need to eat a chestnut!
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@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
9 Oct 09
Hi whitford, reading this I'm suprised by the number of Americans who have never eaten a chestnut, but they seem to not be available all over the country there. You really should try some during the winter months, they are completely adcictive,
@SomeCowgirl (32273)
• United States
8 Oct 09
Now I know the christmas carol "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" but I never actually thought of people doing that! lol! I know that's odd! I've never had chestnuts cooked in anyway, I don't know that I've had chestnuts... other then maybe I think Chinese Food has Water Chestnuts, or is that Cashews? I should try it sometime then huh?
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Hi Amber, yes serioulsly if you've never had chestnuts then if you ever see them you should try them. they are just a winter nut. The best way to cook them is in the embers of a fire, just put a slit in the shell with a knife and drop them into the heat, as as they darken on the outside the nut inside cooks from hard to soft, then peel and dip in salt. Absolutely delicous and perfect for you two lovecowboys to sit and peel for each other.
1 person likes this
@SomeCowgirl (32273)
• United States
8 Oct 09
It does seem like it would be a very nice treat, and very romantic too!
• Australia
8 Oct 09
I don't know why water chestnuts are called chestnuts because there is NO similarity. I doubt they are even the same family. Their texture is different and the taste? Completely opposite!
1 person likes this
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
9 Oct 09
you reminded me of the time when i used to eat eat lot of fresh walnuts. i simply couldn't have enough of it. but unfortunately where i presently live fresh walnuts are simply not available...
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
9 Oct 09
Hi sunny, well if something simply isn't available then obviously one cannot avail oneself of that unavalaible item. It's a terrible thing when something which was previously available becomes unavailable but luckily for me chestnits are always available in the few months of their available time.
@sunny68 (1327)
• India
10 Oct 09
true, it is not fair that some things are not available everywhere.....unfortunately memories cannot be erased...
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
10 Oct 09
@malpoa (1218)
• India
9 Oct 09
When I read about chestnut, I was reminded of cashewnut which we used to eat a lot in my home. We have more than 6 or 7 trees and it was always fun to eat the raw and cooked cashewnut. My grandmother used to prepare a curry with raw cashewnut,drumsticks and dried shrimps. I have never had that type of curry anywhere else and when I say about the curry to my friends , they give a frown and ask how it tastes. Also cashewnut is quite expensive here and I had the privilage to eat as much as I liked. My grandmother would collect the nuts from all trees daily during the season and we ate it all round the year. As a child I occassionly used to buy ice creams by exchanging cashewnuts!!! We eat it raw, plain roasted, roasted with masala, put in curries and desserts. But it has a lot of fat content so cant eat much now hi hi
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
9 Oct 09
Hi Malpoa, lucky you growing up with cashew trees, I love them, but as you say they are very expensive. I don't actually like nuts added to my meals, I'm more of the nibbler type when it comes to nuts but enjoy cashews more than other varieties. Your grandmothers curry without the nuts though sounds wonderful, I could so eat a curry made properly and the original home cooked types are the best.I had a wonderful frined in the UK whose parents came from Pakistan and she swore that not one restuarant in the area could produce a curry half as good as her mums.
@malpoa (1218)
• India
10 Oct 09
Oh no like you suspect, the nuts arent cruncy in the curry. We use raw cashewnuts in the curry so it will be tender as a cooked shrimp. The curry is made by cooking drumsticks with salt and turmeric and then paste of coconut is added. Last a few tablespoons of curd. WE add the tarks (tampered mustard,dry chilli and onion with curry leaves) at last.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
10 Oct 09
@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Oct 09
We have some chestnuts from my Father-in-law's tree, was wondering how to cook them. I take it they can't be eaten raw? My exciting change - for a short while I was staying away from gluten and so I started using corn starch instead of flour for sauces and gravies and stews and so on...
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Hi dawnald, gosh that's fascinating stuff indeed about swapping flour with corn flour, I went the other way and swapped cornflour for flour but it wasn't for any reason except the cornflour was really out of date. Cooking instructions for chestnuts done the best way are in the box above yours, or you could just use the avatars method and boil for 20 minutes then peel. Your children will have great fun peeling them but believe me no one will be tempted to eat them raw.
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@dawnald (84148)
• Shingle Springs, California
8 Oct 09
too bad we don't have a real fireplace in the house, but we'll figure something out!
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Well try the avatars boiling method then, 20 minutes and they're done. We've been eating the last of the ones he cooked yesterday this evening and they still tasted good, but they are better hot.
@ZephyrSun (7387)
• United States
8 Oct 09
I thought that was something of a myth about eating chestnuts. I really didn't know that people actually ate them.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Really Zeph, you've gone your whole life without eating a chestnut, they are delicous. You can't just eat them raw but done on a fire, delicous. I thought I'd seen chestnut vendors on AMerican TV? Mind you its a huge place and maybe they are not all over.
@ZephyrSun (7387)
• United States
8 Oct 09
Nope no chestnuts, I thought they were poisonous. You probably seen peanut vendors they are mainly at baseball games but I have seen them at other places; carnivals, parades, circuses. I have never seen a chestnut for sale in any store I have been in.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Gerty above has been to a chestnut festival in the States so they do exist there and aren't imported but come from actual trees. If you get the chance you should try them as the boys would love them, mine certainly does. They aren't anything like any other nuts at all, hard to describe really, but the way they are cooked within the skin and then this removed so the insides are hot and soft is wonderful, especially when done over fire.
@celticeagle (115084)
• Boise, Idaho
11 Oct 09
Speaking of nuts. I used to always get the smoked almonds and loved to eat them. I ate them all the time. Recently, in attempting to lose extra weight piled while sick, I read the label (like a good consumer) and noticed both the calories and the amount of salt. So I have been eating natural almonds for a couple of years now and like them just fine. No Salt!
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
11 Oct 09
Hi celticeagele, I know that nuts have a high fat content so I imagine that buying them smoked would add some extra baddies to them. I really only indulge in chestnuts as love them so much but I couldn't imagine them without the salt. My man has a large almond tree which has just dropped its nuts, I was naturally going to help myself to lots until I realised there would be an awful lot of work involved in shelling them, plus I don't really like them, so I didn't bother, but they were certainly fresh.
1 person likes this
@celticeagle (115084)
• Boise, Idaho
12 Oct 09
Yes, anything with the added salt would be more caloric but I know we need some in our diets. My favorite nuts are almonds and hazelnuts. I eat walnuts because they are so good for me with the Omega-3 oil in them. I am sensitive to salt so I stay away from it as much as I can. Would love to have an almond tree here. Yum!
@Hatley (159278)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Oct 09
hi thea I cannot really thin of any change I have suddenly'made but its early for me, I am not a morning person. As for chestnuts we don't find them often here in the United States but I have had them a few times and enjoyed them immensely. A British friend brought them to us one year at Christmas time. I had to refrain from the salt though as I have high blood pressure. I was just thinking of all the changes in our lives the past 11 months and those sure did take me by surprise. I would never ever have wanted to be here in a retirement center at all, I was perfectly happy with my life in my own bedroom in our two bedroom apartment until all hell broke loose. So this change sure did take me by surprise. oh and now my roomie has gone shopping, glory hurrah for me. no talking for at least a couple of hours. yes also this is such a change for me having a roommate, as its been years 1991 since I shared a bedroom with my hubby. and thats a helluva lot different than a rather cantankerous older lady.
@Hatley (159278)
• Garden Grove, California
8 Oct 09
typo alert,darn, I cannot really thin? should be think,good grief Charley brown, my fingers slipped on that one, think .
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Good morning Hatley, I kind of gathered that you either weren't really a morning person or roomie was still there annoying you, but you should be feeling on top of the world if you've got rid of roomie for a few hours. I had no idea she was cantankerous as well, I had the impression she was a talker for talkings sake but snappy with it as well I see. Well I bet we all wish we could magic you out of there Hatley and back to your son. Have you looked into the likelihood of the authorities actuallly bring any charges against yourself as an 83 year old lady if a little murder was committed on the premises
@ShepherdSpy (8563)
• Omagh, Northern Ireland
8 Oct 09
Hi Thea! There's tall chestnut trees all around the house where I live along the roadside and in the little park (or "The Village Green") across the way,but unfortunately,here they're not the edible variety,but "Horse Chestnut" trees,and the leaves and the nuts are falling from them at this time of Year..the nuts are only good for one thing,AFAIK,and that's for the kid's game of Conkers! I can't think of any pleasant sudden surprising changes I've made to compare with Yours this past while,though...
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
8 Oct 09
Hi Shepherdspy, I wouldn't know a chestnut tree if I fell over one, horse variety or the other, unless it was laden with chestnuts. My son has never seen a horse chestnut and played a game of conkers with them. I have no ideawhere ours come from as there are no trees like that in this area, but the market will now start to be full of sacks of fresh ones, yet it is usually local produce they sell, maybe they grow further inland. I certainly be having more of them this year though now I've found such an easy way to do them, rather than the constant lining up and turning whilst hoping they don't drop into the fire.
@dlr297 (5264)
• United States
10 Oct 09
We have 4 Chestnut trees in our yard and yes i like them right out of the fire. I have some friends that just eat them raw, and i Know some that boil them.
@thea09 (18329)
• Greece
11 Oct 09
Hi dlr, lucky you having actual chestnut trees, I think you mentioned on an earlier discussion that you might plan to barter some of them. I've had quite a few responses here from Americans who have never seen a chestnut, they don't know what they are missing. I have never heard of anyone eating a raw chestnut, broken and tooth spring to mind. The good thing about the boiled ones was they still tasted good the next day.