This is the nut for the winter season. As soon as the weather cools, one can find street vendors roasting them on the streets of Hong Kong, Taipei, Shanghai & Beijing. Lovely! Another favorite of mine is Water Chestnut, though technically, that's not a nut but corms of a sledge.
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I'm a traveler at heart & have been nicknamed Travel Queen by friends & colleagues alike. Traveling has been my life passion for the last decade or so. As we enter a new decade, I'm excited … more
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The fruit can be peeled and eaten raw, but eaten raw it can be somewhat astringent, especially if the pellicle is not removed.
Another method of eating the fruit involves roasting (which does not require peeling). Roasting requires scoring the fruit beforehand to prevent undue expansion and "explosion" of the fruit. Once cooked, its texture is similar to that of a baked potato, with a delicate, sweet, and nutty flavour. This method of preparation is popular in northern China where the scored chestnuts may be cooked in a tub of heated coal pebbles.
Chestnuts can be dried and milled into flour, which can then be used to prepare breads, cakes, pancakes, pastas (it is the original ingredient for "polenta", known in Corsica as "pulenda"), used as thickener for stews, soups, sauces..., . The flour can be light beige like that from Castagniccia, or darker in other regions. It is a good solution for long storage of a nutritious food. Chestnut bread keeps fresh for as long as two weeks.
A fine granular sugar can be obtained from the fermentation of the juice, as well as a beer; and the roasted fruit provides a coffee substitute. Parmentier, who among other things was a famous potato promoter, extracted sugar from chestnuts and sent a chestnut sugarloaf of several pounds' weight to the Academy of Lyon. The continental blockade following shortly after (1806-1814) increased the research into developing chestnuts as a source of sugar, but Napoleon chose ...