The Hidden Treasure of the Chestnut - The Chef's Cooking School

The Hidden Treasure of the Chestnut

Chestnuts, how to prepare them

Chestnuts Roasting

on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping at your nose.  Growing up with the words from the Nat King Cole Song, “the Christmas song "still brings warming memories of the season. 

I have been fortunate enough to camp and partake in roasting chestnuts on an open fire, peeling and eating them.  What a treat this is.  If ever you have the oppertunity to do this I would absolutely recommend it.

Here you will see how to prepare the fresh chestnuts to cook or eat in your favorite recipes

These spiny alien like pods, fall from the tree and usually pop open revealing a nut that you then prepare, a prepared example is listed below


shelled and hulled chestnut

These nuts are subtle but rich in context.  Below to the left is a bowl of chestnuts that have fallen to the ground in the above pictured pods. The pods usually break open revealing these beauties. These are easily harvested for further preparation. 


  1. First we will wash them, just to remove any contaminants that reside on the shell.
  2. Our next step is to pierce the shell with an X as pictured to the right here
The Hidden Treasure of the Chestnut 1
chestnuts ready for roasting
ready to be shelled

Roasting Chestnuts

Pictures above here is from left to right a chestnut with its shell scored.  Then you have a full bowl of chestnuts ready for roasting.

  • To roast these follow steps 1 and 2 from above. (some find it easier to cut the nut in half before roasting, for ease of extraction from shell
  • Roast at 350 degrees for 45 - 90 minutes in convection oven, or 60 - 120 in a conventional oven
  • Let cool to room temperature, 
  • Peel shells to extract the nut
  • Use Chestnut in your favorite recipe

Chestnuts have a wonderful flavor, however they have a gritty texture.  The texture isn't problematic in the proper application.  When using in soup you should let the chestnuts soften in the soup overnight, process fully, allow to set.  Puree a second time in 24 hours.  This will allow a smoother finish.

Another application is three fold, it gives you a more tender supple nut as well as a candy finish nut, and a chestnut syrup for desserts or pancakes.  Take a simple syrup and cook  your processed nuts, shelled and hulled in the syrup for 1 - 2 hours.  Add some vanilla to the simple syrup and use as a chestnut syrup.

Take the SS cooked chestnut and toast in the oven for 2 - 5 minutes at 325.  Season when finished with salt or a favorite spice blend.  Serve as a snack once cooled.


shelled and hulled chestnut

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