For some reason, this crazy Jewish husband of mine has been singing Christmas songs since the beginning of November. I told him he’s reminding me of our local drug store. Can’t they at least wait until after Thanksgiving?
Actually, there are a few reasons he’s got Christmas songs in his head.
1) I’ve been playing around with chestnuts (or Chad’s nuts, depending upon how immature you are. But I prefer the term, “young at heart”)
2) Scott likes to play music via itunes set on “random”. And if you have as many Christmas albums as I do, you’ll find yourself dancing to Willie Nelson’s White Christmas directly after Michael Jackson’s Billie Jean.
I’ve learned a bit about chestnuts this year, so I’ll share the love.
- Look for chestnuts that feel dense and heavy for their size, and don’t rattle when shaken.
- They should always be stored in a cool, moist environment. The best way to do this at home is to place them in a zip-top bag with a barely moistened paper-towel. Keep them refrigerated.
- You can do a “float test” to determine if they’ve been stored properly, and are still plump and moist inside. To do this, place the chestnuts in a bowl of water. They should sink. If they float, discard them.
- If chestnuts are improperly stored, ie. left out on the counter for too long, the nutmeat will dry out and shrink, creating space between the nut and the shell where mold can grow.
To Roast Chestnuts
Preheat your oven to 350 degrees.
Cut an “x” into the flat side of each chestnut (This is a very important step which allows steam to escape as they roast, so they don’t explode!)
Place the chestnuts in a small oven-proof saute pan or cookie sheet, and roast for about 15-20 minutes.
Remove from the oven and allow to cool for just a minute. You must work as quickly as possible, as they are much easier to peel when hot. I’ve had success in reheating them slightly if they’ve cooled too much.
Using a small knife, peel off the outer shell and the inner skin.
You’ll be left with this:
And from here, the possibilities are endless. Last year, we made a delicious stuffing for Thanksgiving dinner…