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Pounds of Chestnuts


fifi
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My sister and I are the proud recipients of a grocery bag full of chestnuts from a friend's tree in Cleveland. These are wonderful chestnuts supposedly from a legendary chestnut tree. Some of them are starting to mildew at the stem end and my sister is judiciously wiping them down with vinegar even as I type.

My question is... Can we put them in the freezer in anticipation of doing something with them for Thanksgiving? Does freezing chestnuts change the texture? What do you do with chestnuts, anyway. Here in the Gulf Coast, they are not part of our cooking heritage.

Help, please.

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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You could do what I've done in the past, leave them in a plastic bag in the fridge, wait for them to get absolutely gross looking and throw them out. If you do use them for thanksgiving they are a total pain in the ass to shell, but at least they look like tiny little brains when you've got them out of the shells. :wacko::blink::wacko:

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Seesh... All of that is encouraging. :biggrin:

We are not above doing the "pain-in-the-ass" thing for something memorable. Are you telling me that chestnuts aren't worth it? We are not a chestnut eating folk down here so I don't have an opinion of chestnuts. So... We do have to try it. Curiosity beckons.

Can we freeze these things and put the whole thing off?

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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Can we freeze these things and put the whole thing off?

For how long? I am reminded of the top of our wedding cake, which my MIL discovered in her freezer, some 20 years after the fact.

Susan Fahning aka "snowangel"
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We are not above doing the "pain-in-the-ass" thing for something memorable. Are you telling me that chestnuts aren't worth it?

If they were a pain in the ass but the end result tasted good that would be one thing, but they have very little flavor and their texture is nasty. You might as well throw some gummybears in your stuffing, that'll give you a similar result without all the shelling and peeling.

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I am getting a little doubtful about this whole endeavor. Are you guys telling me that chestnuts aren't worth the trouble? What is all of that stuff... "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" etc. etc. etc. Those of us here in the southland think of chestnuts as some delicacy enjoyed in the great northern climes and wonder what it is all about. Now that we have our hands on some, I am being told they aren't worth it. Hmmm... Johnny Mathis may have some 'splainin' to do. :laugh:

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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:laugh::laugh::laugh:

I just phoned my sister and read her this thread. We are laughing our butts off. (No small accomplishment, given the size of our butts.)

Linda LaRose aka "fifi"

"Having spent most of my life searching for truth in the excitement of science, I am now in search of the perfectly seared foie gras without any sweet glop." Linda LaRose

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I've never tried freezing raw chestnuts, but I have roasted chestnuts, peeled and then frozen them. That works just fine if you are going to be using the chestnuts in cooked dishes. Or you can just buy the frozen, peeled ones at an Asian market.

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I agree with Melkor. They are a total pain in the ass to shell and I will never again attempt a chestnut stuffing for a turkey.  :angry:

word.

i tried that one year.

never again.

i do like roasting them and eating them out of hand - when you roast them, make sure to score the shell.

if you are feeling really adventurous you can roast them all, spend the time to shell them (not fun) and use them in a stuffing recipe (i thought it turned out pretty good - cornbread, chestnuts and sausage), or get adventurous with desserts, they would taste pretty good with a glaze on them.

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I am getting a little doubtful about this whole endeavor. Are you guys telling me that chestnuts aren't worth the trouble? What is all of that stuff... "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" etc. etc. etc. Those of us here in the southland think of chestnuts as some delicacy enjoyed in the great northern climes and wonder what it is all about. Now that we have our hands on some, I am being told they aren't worth it. Hmmm... Johnny Mathis may have some 'splainin' to do. :laugh:

Interesting, you recieve a bag of chestnuts from a friend in Cleveland, I grew up (25 years) in Cleveland and didn't have a chestnut until I moved to Japan...... :blink:

They are a major pain to peel and the only way I eat them now is to roast htem and then eat them out of the shell while still hot. When using them for anything else I buy them pre-peeled! :biggrin:

Kristin Wagner, aka "torakris"

 

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I recall a recipe from the Time-Life Foods of the World book for Japan that went along something like these lines:

Take some turnips and cut them into small balls. Take some seasoned shrimp puree and coat each turnip ball. Roll shrimp-coated balls in noodles which have been broken into matchstick sized pieces. Deep fry the noodle balls until noodles and shrimp are golden brown. Using chopsticks, carefully cut open the noodle balls and gently take out the turnip, reserve for another use. Insert a glazed chestnut into each noodle nest, and serve. These should appear as a mimic of a chestnut in its wild state.

Soba

Edited by SobaAddict70 (log)
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I agree with Melkor. They are a total pain in the ass to shell and I will never again attempt a chestnut stuffing for a turkey.  :angry:

word.

i tried that one year.

never again.

i do like roasting them and eating them out of hand - when you roast them, make sure to score the shell.

if you are feeling really adventurous you can roast them all, spend the time to shell them (not fun) and use them in a stuffing recipe (i thought it turned out pretty good - cornbread, chestnuts and sausage), or get adventurous with desserts, they would taste pretty good with a glaze on them.

My family roasts chestnuts around the holiday season every year.

I think they're delicious, especially when they carmelize a bit in the process, but they are usually a real hassle to shell.

But, last year a friend of mine ordered a bag of fresh chestnuts from a chestnut farm in Ohio. These were Chinese chestnuts (as opposed to the variety I had always eaten which we called Italian chestnuts, not sure if that is the official name).

The chestnut shell looked slightly darker, but the flesh was the same color, and the best part was that they practically jumped out of their shell during the roasting process. We'd score them across the top in an X pattern, and the nut would split right open as it roasted.

The flavor was a little different, not as sweet, perhaps, but they made up for it in ease-of-access. :smile:

He'll be ordering another batch this year and I can't wait 'till they show up.

Edited by Vinny (log)
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We've roasted them in the fireplace in a cast iron skillet.

I've roasted them in the fireplace wrapped in heavy duty aluminum foil.

It you cut a small cross into the bottom of the nut beforehand, it kind of peels back as it roasts. Makes it a bit easier to deal with.

I've used the raosted chestnuts in soup. They're very tasty. Truly the best way to have them is from a New York City street vendor on a snowy day :smile:

Katie M. Loeb
Booze Muse, Spiritual Advisor

Author: Shake, Stir, Pour:Fresh Homegrown Cocktails

Cheers!
Bartendrix,Intoxicologist, Beverage Consultant, Philadelphia, PA
Captain Liberty of the Good Varietals, Aphrodite of Alcohol

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I just discovered yesterday that my new place of employment has a 100-year-old Chestnut tree that is starting to dump its fruit (I had no idea they were covered with a spikey fur!).

Unlike many, I don't think chestnuts are nasty and worthless -- I've made wonderful chestnut stuffings and like roasting them as well. I also make a puree that I freeze in portions for later use that can be quite elegant. Yes, time-consuming but unlike any other flavor I can describe.

I'm looking forward to creating a chestnut soup this year...

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Don't despair. We love chestnut stuffing at our

house and repeat the task each year. They add

a wonderfully nutty flavor to the stuffing. They

are a bit time consuming or patience-eliciting

but can be done several days in advance.

We also enjoy a pan of roasted chestnuts

as an after dinner snack. Beats chips any day!

Of course, if you choose to puree them, you can

freeze the puree and them employ it in desserts

or as a vegetable w. hearty winter meats.

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I love chestnuts, but I think it's a waste to eat them any way other than freshly roasted or boiled. That way, even if they don't peel easily you can just scrape off the meat with your teeth. I don't even bother making a pretty score on the flat side. I've found that if I take a Chinese cleaver and just whack an X into the round side of a chestnut it makes the scoring process really quick.

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A few years back, while visiting Bangkok, we found a 'Chestnut Peeler' in a grocery store. I persuaded my spouse not to get it as "it's heavy and why carry it around when we can buy one when we're back home". We've now searched Canada, US, Germany, Spain and UK for such a thing. Even tried to find it again on a return trip to Bangkok. No luck.

But we did find an Italian 'Chestnut Pan'. It is basically a cast iron frypan with holes cut in the base to allow the flames to enter. It came with a 'piercer' that one uses to score the nuts first and works perfectly on our gas range.

And roast chestnut soup with a dash of madeira is now one of our 'signature dishes'. Rich and smoky - and worth the peeling effort.

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