Preserving Chestnuts

10/05/2009 - 16:50

Does anyone have any ideas or tips on preserving chestnuts - other than storing them in sand as you would carrots. I would like to be able to use them throughout the winter as an extra to things (roast vegetables, in stews etc.) rather than just to roast in the fire. Never done it before - just used then in October when they are freely available.


I also love chestnut stuffing particularly for Christmas, but in my case I make first a purée of chestnuts, boiling them first and then I mash them with either a potato masher or a food mill. I use some fennel and herbs in the boiling water to give extra flavour.Then I add the following:400 g best tuscan sausage meat150 g bacon slices1 small onion1 green apple, chopped100 g dried prunessalt, pepper and spices to taste1 beaten egg to hold everything togetherThe results are delicious

For a bit of luxury try this:Castagne Sotto WhiskyIngredients: 1 kg Chestnuts, 1 litre whisky, 500g sugarMethod: Peel chestnuts Choose the largest and best looking chestnuts and keep them as whole as possible. Place the whisky in a saucepan and stir in the sugar. Bring the mixture to the boil. Add the chestnuts and turn off the heat. Leave to cool and bottle into clean jars. Serve as a dessert on ice-cream with a drizzle of honey and a dollop of yoghurt. As this is out of my Ligurian recipe book, there was really only one whisky that should be used for this, Glen Grant 5 Year Old Single Malt Whisky. This has long been the best selling whisky in Italy and made Italy the largest importer of malt whiskies well before they became popular anywhere else.Other than that, simply dry them and then grind them to make chestnut flour.Or make your turkey stuffing early and freeze like so:Chestnut stuffing(quantities for a chicken or guinea fowl. Double for a turkey)450g chestnuts, 450g sausage meat, 1 onion, 50g sultanas, ½ tbsp sugar, pinch cinnamon, 25g butter, salt & pepper to taste, a little tomato juice to moisten.Peel chestnuts. Slice onions & fry in the butter until golden, then add the sausage meat & cook gently for a few minutes. Do not allow the onions to turn brown. Add the tomato juice, sugar, salt & pepper and the cinnamon. Stir together until well blended, then add the chestnuts, previously minced, and the sultanas. Mix well & allow to cool before stuffing your bird.or try this, doesn't last as long as normal jam though:Marmellata di Fagioli e CastagneThis is a kind of substitute for the ubiquitous Nutella, just better and less sickly sweet.Ingredients: 400g dried white beans, 150g sugar, 400g chestnutsMethod: Soak the beans overnight in plenty of water. Drain and boil in fresh water until soft, then whiz them to a fine puree in a food processor. In the meantime peel the chestnuts and chop them finely. Put the bean puree back into the saucepan and, over a low flame stirring constantly, add the sugar. Once the sugar is dissolved, add the chopped chestnuts, taking the mixture off the heat. Bottle immediately into hot jars, seal and turn upside down for about half an hour. Use as a sandwich spread. 

Another way of preserving chestnuts would be to make your own purée. This way it can be kept for up to a year under the right conditions. Here is a simple, if you mix some purée with a good quality vanilla icecream you get a delicious chestnut icecream that you can keep in the freezer.