Sunday, November 28, 2010

How to Peel a Chestnut Easily

I found the chestnuts peeled most easily if softened a bit in the microwave first. In order to do this, first you must pierce each chestnut with a sharp knife. This allows the building pressure to escape without inter-appliance explosions startling you while you putter in the kitchen, causing you to drop bread puddings and scaring the dog out of her poor wits. This is a very important step. Please don't skimp on the hole-punching. Don't ask me how I know.

Microwave a small quantity on high for 2 minutes. It's best to do only groups of no more than 6-8. If you do greater quantities than that, the final chestnuts will likely cool before you get to them and the peeling won't be quite so easy.

A paring knife or small serrated knife will generally cut through the outer shell lickety split at this point. I found that sometimes the piercing in the shell opened a bit in the microwave, making it easy to use the knife to simply crack them open the rest of the way. By the last of the chestnuts I got to be quite expert at opening them and popping the meat out of the shell.

Perhaps more interestingly, I was looking online for some stock photos of a bunch of chestnuts, since I took pictures of the process, but not of the beautiful, untouched produce. What I found were several pictures of unharvested chestnuts in their natural environment. I had no idea that they grew in thistle-y pods, but probably my wise readers did. How fascinating. And how gorgeous.


  1. We have an on-again, off-again relationship with chestnuts. Sometimes they get wormy. We usually roast them (with the X first!) and then eat them. Did you put yours in dressing?
    Those photos you found are pretty.

  2. Yes, for the first time ever, I put them in my dressing. Enjoyed it for something different. (Although I'm still grieving that I hadn't put more onion in.)


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