Here are some facts about them - good for a mention, perhaps, as everyone sits around the festive table looking forward to their nut roast wellington. Or even my lemon-stuffed cashew nut roast en croute somewhere in the history of this blog. Or whatever.
|by Pauline Mak|
2 Before potatoes arrived, and where wheat flour was not available, they were an
important source of carbohydrates and could be milled into flour. The flour could be
used to make bread, which might stay fresh for up to two weeks.
3 Sweet chestnut trees are known in the USA as Spanish chestnuts.
4 They have a hard outer skin, the husk or pericarpus, and a soft inner skin, the pellicle,
which sticks to the fruit and follows its grooves.
5 They are enjoyed by deer, wild boar, squirrels, pigeons, jays - and the chestnut weevil.
6 The American version weighs somewhere around 5g, and some Japanese varieties
up to 40g.
7 Chestnuts can be roasted or grilled (slashing the husk first to avoid a splatting),
peeled and deep fried until they float to the surface, boiled, or ground into flour. The
vacu-packed versions are ready to eat, and tinned puree comes sweetened or not.
8 They contain about 180 calories per 100g of the nut itself, lower than almonds,
walnuts and dried fruit. There's no cholesterol or gluten, but some copper and
|Marrons Glaces by Kate Hopkins|
chestnuts then candying in sugar syrup. Those sold for Christmas were actually
picked the year before.
10 In Portugal they are traditionally eaten on St Martin's Day, November 11th, and were
once widely to be considered to be food for the poor.
A favourite way of using these (cooked) is with chunks of mushroom, grated nutmeg and a creamy sauce, ladled over tagliatelle. But if I had an open fire, they'd be roasting by it, whether or not Jack Frost is nipping. Watch out, Merchant Gourmet, I'm after your vacu-packs already.