Three Chestnuts, ready to fall from the bur at harvest time

Our 2019 U-Pick Chestnut Season is over

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Winkel Chestnut Farm - Chestnut Use 

To see how we get to a Chestnut visit the Orchard. Here we will use the nuts, starting with "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire".

Peeling Chestnuts

Roasted Chestnuts

Chestnut Soup 

Cornbread Chestnut Stuffing

Roasted Chestnuts

Below is a stand outside the Tower of London, London England, in November of 1995. Chestnuts were roasted on the brown gas fired hot-plate in front of the fellow at the stand. The nuts were roasted until the shell was charred, then moved to a higher heated shelf to stay warm. Sold in small paper bags with about 10 nuts to the bag. Cost? Roughly one US dollar.

  CLICK for enlarged view, BACK to return

Roast in a Pan
To roast your own chestnuts, cut through the shell of the nuts in an "X" pattern; this will allow steam to escape and avoid exploding the nut. Place the nuts on a searing hot pan. Roast until the shells begin to char, about 10 minutes. Set the nuts aside to cool. As soon as the nuts are cool enough to handle, peel the shell off and eat.

To boil your chestnuts, cut through the shell of the nuts in an "X" pattern; this will allow steam to escape. Place in a pan of water. Bring to boil, simmer for 5 minutes. Cool, peel, eat. Vary cooking time to suit.

Or as an alternate method, cut the in-shell chestnut in half.  Place in a pan of boiling water. Simmer for 5-10 minutes.  With a bit of luck the chestnut will pop free of the shell.  This is a good way to produce shelled chestnuts for use in cooking.

To roast chestnuts in the oven, cut through the shell of the nuts in an "X" pattern; this will allow steam to escape.  Preheat oven to 375.  Place chestnuts on a cookie sheet.  The cookie sheet with chestnuts goes into the  center of the oven.  After about 15 minutes the cut part of the chestnut shell will be curled back.   Remove from oven, cool enough to handle.  Peel the shell off the chestnut.
Eat as is, or dip into well salted butter.

To microwave your chestnuts, cut throught the shell of the nuts in an "X" pattern. Cook nuts on High setting for 30 seconds. Cool, peel, eat. Vary cooking time to suit, overcooking will dry the nut and make it rubbery.


Chestnut Soup

Chestnut and Squash Soup.
Several years ago at a meeting at Michigan State University , Dr. Dennis Fulbright and his wife served a wonderful Chestnut soup.  Try it, it's very good!
If your chestnuts are difficult to peel raw, use the Oven Roast method above then remove the meat from the nut. 
Here is the recipe.

1/2 lb raw chestnuts
2-2 1/2 lb Butternut squash
1 sweet onion
1 carrot
1 stalk celery
2 T butter
5 cup chicken stock
1/4 tsp ground ginger (optional)
1 1/2 cup light cream
freshly ground pepper

Peel chestnuts. Peel and seed squash and cut into 1/2 inch cubes. Chop onion, carrot, and celery, and add to butter melted in 4-qt saucepan. Stew to wilt but not brown. Add chestnuts and squash and stir into vegetables. Add 4 cups chicken stock and 1/2 teaspoon salt. Bring to boil, cover, reduce heat, cook for 30-40 minutes or until chestnuts and squash are tender. Stir in ginger if you like. Puree in blender with remaining chicken stock. Add cream and season with salt and pepper to taste. Reheat and serve. (Makes 8 cups)


Cornbread Chestnut Stuffing

Eve from Caro Michigan shared this recipe.  We cut the recipe in half and used it to stuff a chicken.  Eve was right... this is good eating!  Don't worry if the 2 cups of chestnuts is measured before cooking, in the shell, or after cooking out of the shell.  Close is good enough.

1 package cornbread stuffing
2 c. cooked Chestnuts ( I like big pieces in the dressing)
1 stick butter (this may be reduced to 1/2 stick)
1 sweet onion
Chicken stock or water to moisten
1 T. poultry seasoning

Steam the whole chestnuts in a steamer (be sure to "X" them). They will
come out in big chunks.
Mix the cornbread stuffing mix in a large bowl with chopped and simmered onions that have been cooked until transparent in butter.
Stir in the poultry seasoning.
Add water or chicken stock to moisten the mixture. Add the
chestnuts. Stuff all into a large turkey.

You can add celery if you like.

The stuffing will be on the sweet side. But it is EXCELLENT.


Peeling Chestnuts

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Note that the nuts grow side by side like this.


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If one nut grows in the burr, then both sides are rounded.


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If two nuts grow in the burr, then the sides are flat where the two nuts meet.


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If three nuts grow in the burr, then the middle nut is flat on two sides!


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Before roasting make an "X" cut in the  nut shell.  This is most easily done on the flat side of the nut.


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Here are three cutting patterns after 15 minutes on a cookie sheet in a 400 degree oven.


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With luck, the inner skin (pellicle) will peel free from the nut along with the shell.


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On this nut the pellicle peels free more easily.


Comments, questions, have recipes to share? Contact me by email at 

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