Chestnuts are more like fruits than true nuts. They are low in fat and high in vitamin C, and provide a good source of low GI carbohydrate, leaving you fuller for longer. A 30 gram serve provides 217 kJ (52 Cal). They are gluten-free, high in dietary fibre and low in total fat and saturated fat. Chestnuts are a good source of these nutrients and can help boost your heart health. They also contain folate, potassium, B1, B2 and antioxidants.
Chestnuts were first introduced to Australia during the 1850’s gold rush. Today growers produce approximately 1,200 tonnes of fresh Chestnuts per season in Australia and they are available for purchase from mid-March to July. They are grown in areas that are hot in summer and cold in winter and preferably 800 meters plus above sea level. 75% of Australian chestnuts are produced in Northeast Victoria.
Ways to prepare and eat
You can grill, BBQ, boil, or microwave chestnuts, however, the traditional roasting method is one of the best ways to enjoy them. Bitter when raw, roasted chestnuts have a delicate and slightly sweet flavour with a soft texture comparable to sweet potato. Roasted chestnuts can be enjoyed on their own, as a festive winter snack or an after-dinner treat.
Roast chestnut recipe
Ingredients – 250 gm raw unpeeled chestnuts
- Preheat the oven to 220 °C.
- Cut a shallow cross into the flat side of the shell, this prevents the nut from overheating and bursting while cooking.
- Arrange chestnuts in a single layer either directly on a baking rack or use a baking sheet.
- Place in the oven for around 15 to 20 minutes. They will be ready when the skins have pulled back from the cuts and the nutmeats have softened.
- Remove from the oven and pile them into a mound in an old towel. Wrap them up, squeeze hard—the chestnuts should crackle—and let them sit for a few minutes.
- Pull and snap off the dark shells to reveal the yellowish white chestnuts. Peel chestnuts while they are still warm because they can sometimes be a little bit tricky to peel when cooled. While peeling, make sure to also remove the papery skin between the shell and the chestnut.