October means chestnut season here at Caney Fork Farms, and we sure love experimenting with this earthy, sweet nut. Chestnuts and can be used for all kinds of dishes – think chestnut soup, mashed chestnuts, roasted with brussells sprouts or other veggies. You can even turn these fresh nuts into a nutritious, gluten-free flour.
The simplest way to prepare chestnuts is to roast them in the oven. You'll want to score an "X" on the round side of the shell and into the nut – this allows steam to escape and makes for easier peeling as well. An optional step is to drop your prepared chestnuts into a pot of boiling water for about 5 minutes. Parboiling allows the chestnuts to absorb some moisture, so they plump up nicer in the oven.
Spread chestnuts out on a baking tray and bake for 400° F until the peel of curling up around the "X" (about 15-20 minutes).
Chestnuts come out of the shells best when they are still warm. Pour the freshly baked nuts onto a hand towel. Fold the side up so the nuts are covered and gently press on them to encourage the shells to crack open. Enjoy fresh.