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For handling chestnuts:

  • A quick and easy way to peel fresh chestnuts: using a small sharp knife, make an “x” on the flat side of each chestnut.
  • Soak the chestnuts in water for about an hour, then drain.
  • Roast the chestnuts in a cast-iron skillet in a 400° oven for about 20 minutes, or until tender.
  • Peel as soon as they are cool enough to handle.

When shopping for chestnuts, look for smooth skins and a nice shine; feel for chestnuts that are quite hard—the leathery skin should be firmly attached to the nut itself.

If cooking with fresh chestnuts still seems too cumbersome, vacuum-packed imported whole chestnuts in a jar are an easy and delicious alternative.

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