How to Roast and Eat Fresh Chestnuts

There is something magical about freshly roasted chestnuts. The smell of warm chestnuts around the street vendors on a cold day is marvelous, and let's not forget the taste itself. But not everyone is lucky enough to have chestnut vendors in town during the cold months. Still, we can enjoy the delicious aroma and taste of chestnuts by learning how to roast and eat fresh chestnuts at home.

What you will need to roast chestnuts:

- Any amount of chestnuts you wish.

- A shallow baking tray, the wider the better. For just a small number of chestnuts, don't worry too much about the shape of the pan.

- A sharp pointed knife, such as a fruit and vegetable knife, with a curved tip is best.

- A damp paper towel or a kitchen cloth to clean the chestnuts.

- A clean work surface.

Preparing the chestnuts:

You can buy chestnuts from fall to winter in local stores. First, make sure to clean the chestnuts even if they look clean and shiny when you bring them home. Wipe them down with a damp paper towel or a kitchen cloth. After cleaning the chestnuts, score them with a knife by cutting an X into the skin of the chestnut on the flat side. This releases the steam while roasting, preventing the chestnut from exploding in the oven. Scoring also makes them easier to peel.

Roasting the chestnuts:

Preheat your oven to 400 degrees F. Put the chestnuts into your baking pan with the X cut facing up and roast them for 30 to 40 minutes. Shake the pan a few times during the course of roasting to turn them over and get an even bake. When done, peel the chestnuts as soon as they are cool enough to handle. Do not wait until they are completely cooled as this will make them horrendously hard to peel.

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Roasting chestnuts has been a favorite pastime enjoyed for centuries. You can roast chestnuts in the traditional manner over an open flame or try modern methods on the grill, stovetop, oven or microwave.

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