Chestnut preserve called Glyko Kastano (pr. glee-KHO KAH-stah-noh) in Greek is a wonderful winter treat and a perfect gift during Christmas or other occasions.
Greeks are famous for their sweet preserves (glyka tou koutaliou) , which are made from fruit, peels, nuts, flowers or even vegetables!
Is it easy to make Chestnut Preserve?
The only draw back to make this preserve is the time needed to score and peel the chestnuts.
You can read how to boil and peel chestnuts in my previous post.
The remaining procedure is very easy and takes about five minutes a day.
Making this chestnut preserve takes quite a bit of time, 3 to 4 days of commitment, but the active cooking time is, in fact, less than 30 minutes total.
However the result is this amazing preserve which will compensate you from all the time you have consumed peeling them.
How to make chestnut preserve
First step is to score and boil the chestnuts. You then boil them only for fifteen minutes so that you can peel them.
At this stage they are semi cooked and still hard as they will cook during the next step.
Next step is to preserve the chestnuts.
You can preserve them by cooking them further in a sugar or honey syrup.
What is the ratio Chestnuts to Sugar or Honey and water?
For one kilo peeled chestnuts you need one kilo sugar and 700 ml water or 500 grams sugar – 500 grams honey and 700 ml water or fruit juice.
How to make the Syrup
The most traditional way of preserving fruit is storing them in syrup made with only sugar and water or sugar, honey and water.
You can make a simple sugar syrup and add some spices to flavour it. The usual spices used in this Greek chestnut preserve are cinnamon and cloves. However, you can also add a vanilla pod, some fragrant geranium leaves an orange peel or lemon peel.
Instead of adding only water, you can substitute part of the water with some orange or mandarin juice.
How to make the chestnut preserve
Prepare the syrup. Put the sugar (honey), water, spices and lemon peel in a pot.
Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
If honey is added to the syrup, it will form some foam on top, which you can skim off if you like but don’t worry about this as it will dissolve and the syrup will become clear again.
Place the chestnuts in the syrup and let them sit in the syrup overnight.
Next day bring to a boil and simmer them for 5 minutes.
Repeat for two more days.
If the syrup is too watery, remove the chestnuts in a colander and put the drained syrup back into the pot.
Boil until the syrup thickens. When it reaches the right consistency put the chestnuts back in the syrup and turn off the heat.
Allow to cool and discard cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel.
Bring them to one final boil, cook for 1 minute and add the lemon juice.
Note: Some chestnuts may break into smaller pieces while boiling. Do not discard them as if you don’t wont to eat them, you can use them in other recipes.
How Long can the chestnuts be preserved?
Like all preserves, if the syrup is thickened properly, the fruit, fruit peels, nuts, flowers or vegetables can be stored in clean sterilized jars for months or even years without the need of refrigeration.
In case something goes wrong and you see mildew on top when you open a jar, don’t throw them away as this can easily be fixed.
How can I use the Chestnut Preserve?
Chestnut Preserve is a wonderful dessert by itself.
In Greece we serve it in a small plate together with some of its syrup and enjoy this healthy dessert with a glass of cold water to accompany it.
We also use it inside or on top of other desserts. Think of ice cream served with chestnut preserve and some of its syrup, on top of panna cotta or to decorate any cake which has chocolate ganache on top!!
See my Nanaimo Bars with White Chocolate.
How to make Marrons Glacés
This is the easiest part as after making the chestnut preserve there is only one more step left.
Put the Chestnut preserves in a colander to drain excess syrup.
(Leftover syrup can be used to sweeten puddings, to serve on top of Greek yoghurt, on ice cream or whey cheese, such as anthotyro, to serve as a dessert, with a sprinkle of some cinnamon on top).
Arrange the candied chestnuts on a parchment-lined baking sheet.
Preheat the oven to 150oC and when warm enough, turn the oven off.
Put the tray inside and stick a prop to leave the door slightly open. Let them sit in the oven for about an hour or until the oven cools.
Check if the chestnuts have dried. If not, repeat one more time.
Put them in paper cases or wrap each one in parchment paper and then in aluminium foil or cellophane.
Store in an air tight container.
These make a wonderful Christmas gift!
- 500 grams chestnuts, boiled, shelled and pellicle removed
- 500 grams sugar
- 450 ml water
- 1 cinnamon stick
- 4 cloves
- 1 lemon Peel
- 2 tbsp lemon juice
- Boil and shell chestnuts. See how to peel and boil chestnuts.
- Prepare the syrup. Put the sugar (honey), water, spices and lemon peel in a pot.
- Bring to a boil and simmer for 5 minutes and remove from the heat.
- If honey is added to the syrup, it will form some foam on top, which you can skim off if you like but don’t worry about this as it will dissolve and the syrup will become clear again.
- Place the chestnuts in the syrup and let them sit in the syrup overnight.
- Next day bring to a boil and simmer them for 5 minutes.
- Repeat for two more days.
- Remove the chestnuts in a colander and put the drained syrup back into the pot.
- Boil until the syrup thickens. When it reaches the right consistency (105o C) put the chestnuts back in the syrup and turn off the heat.
- Bring them to one final boil, cook for 1 minute and add the lemon juice.
- Discard the cinnamon, cloves and lemon peel and store in sterilized jars
To Make Marrons Glacés
- To make Marrons Glacés put them in a colander to drain excess syrup.
- Then put them on a baking tray lined with parchment paper.
- Preheat the oven to 150oC and when warm enough, turn off the oven.
- Put the tray inside and stick a prop to leave the door slightly open.. Leave them in the oven until it cools.
- If they have not dried, repeat one more time.
- Put them in paper cases or wrap each one in parchment paper and then in aluminium foil or cellophane.
- Store them in an air-tight container.
Some chestnuts may break into smaller pieces while boiling. Do not discard them as of course, you can still eat them or they can be used in other recipes.
Note for Marrons Glacés:
Nutrition InformationYield 30 Serving Size 1
Amount Per Serving Calories 93Total Fat 0gSaturated Fat 0gTrans Fat 0gUnsaturated Fat 0gCholesterol 0mgSodium 2mgCarbohydrates 22gFiber 1gSugar 15gProtein 1g
"These values are automatically calculated and offered for guidance only. Their accuracy is not guaranteed."
Kopiaste and Kali Orexi!