Skip to Content

How to boil and peel chestnuts

How to boil and peel chestnuts

Sharing is caring!

Chestnuts, although typically they are usually categorized as nuts, but in fact they are fruit, which are produced by the chestnut tree, (castanea) (called kastana – κάστανα pr. KAH-stah-nah in Greek) , which are native to temperate climates.

They grow in a green, spiky shells which when peeled reveals the nut. In Greece they are in season from end of September to October, but you may see then sold up January.

Chestnuts in burrs image

Properties of Chestnuts

Chestnuts are an excellent source of carbohydrates, thus providing the necessary energy for our body.

They also contain high quality proteins, but unfortunately in smaller quantities.

Unlike other nuts such as walnuts and almonds, they contain much less fat and are rich in minerals and vitamins.

More specifically, they are considered a good source of monounsaturated fatty acids and have a high content of B vitamins (niacin, pyridoxine, thiamine and riboflavin).

Chestnuts are also an excellent source of iron, calcium, potassium, magnesium, manganese, phosphorus and zinc. Another thing that sets chestnuts apart from other nuts is their high content of vitamin C.

Just 100 grams of chestnuts (ie about 4-5 medium sized) provide us with 43 mg of this important vitamin, ie almost 70% of the recommended daily intake.

Chestnuts are also very rich in fiber, thus contributing to the proper functioning of the gastrointestinal tract while also having a low glycemic index, which makes them a good choice for people with diabetes.

Chestnuts in a bowl image

Chestnuts are quite expensive and the big ones are about 5 – 6 Euros a kilo and the smaller ones around 3 Euros, so when last week I found a bargain at the farmers’ market of 1.50 Euros a kilo I bought 5 kilos!!!

The chestnuts were quite big, sweet and I did not have to throw any away.

chestnuts in a crystal bowl image

With the Christmas holidays now approaching I could think of a few recipes I wanted to use them in.

Peeling chestnuts is a time consuming job, so as during the holidays I didn’t want to spend lots of hours peeling them, I decided to do this difficult task now.

How to peel chestnuts:

Step 1:

The first step is to place the chestnut on its flat side and then score it crosswise on the rounded side. If you want a much easier way, you can buy a chestnut cutter tool or a chestnut knife.

scoring chestnuts crosswise image

Step 2:

The second step is to either roast, grill or boil them.  

Chestnuts baked in the oven image
Chestnuts baked in the oven

See how to roast or grill them here.

roasted chestnuts by street vendor image
Roasted chestnuts by street vendor

We can also boil the chestnut in order to eat them or use them further in other recipes.

How to boil chestnuts

  • Put them in a pot and cover them with water.
  • Bring to a boil and simmer them for 15 minutes.  They can be peeled and used for further cooking.  If you intend to eat them, boil them for 15 more minutes.
  • Let them cool for a few seconds, so that you can handle them, and peel them while they are still hot.
  • This way the shell and pellicle are removed much easier.
  • Remove the outer shell and then continue with the pellicle.
  • If you are having a hard time removing the pellicle, just put them in a bowl with boiling water and let them soak for a minute. 
  • Have a kettle with boiling water and if the water in the bowl cools, just replace it and soak the chestnuts for 1 more minute. You will see how easy it is to remove the pellicle again
  • This way the skin will loosen and will be removed easily again.

Boiled Chestnuts and How to Use them

A favourite way to eat them after boiling them is to eat them as a snack.

Other uses

Apart from eating them as a snack, you can use them as follows:

In a stuffing for turkey.

To make chestnut puree.

To make a chestnut spread.

As a chestnut glaze on cakes. I made this one for my Christmas Cake.

As a filling in tarts. I used it in a Pasta Frolla recipe.

To make Mont Blanc.

To Coat meat, I used it to make Escalopes.

To make candied chestnuts (Glyko Kastano). This will be my next post.

With another further step you can make them into Marrons Glacé (candied chestnuts). This will be my next post.

Can I freeze chestnuts before using them in recipes?

Yes you can.

After peeling them, put them in zip lock bags or airtight containers.

Chestnuts in zip lock bags image

You can keep them in the refrigerator for a week or for many months in the deep freezer.

frozen chestnuts image
chestnuts boiled and peeled image

How to boil and peel chestnuts

Yield: 1 kilo
Prep Time: 1 hour
Active Time: 20 minutes
Total Time: 1 hour 20 minutes
Difficulty: medium
Estimated Cost: 3 - 5 Euros

Fresh chestnuts must always be cooked before used and are never eaten raw as they contain tannic acid. Before using them, you need to remove the chestnuts from their skins by either boiling or roasting them.

Materials

  • 1 kilo Chestnuts

Tools

  • Cutting board
  • Chestnut Cutter tool or Chestnut knife or other sharp small utility knife
  • Pot
  • Slotted ladle

Instructions

  1. Put the chestnut on its flat side and score it crosswise on its rounded
    side.
  2. Put them in a pot and cover them with water.
  3. Bring to a boil and simmer them for 15 minutes. They can be peeled and used for further cooking.  If you intend to eat them, boil them for 15 more minutes.
  4. Let them cool for a few seconds and peel them while they are still hot.
  5. This way the shell and pellicle are removed much easier.
  6. Remove the outer shell and then continue with the pellicle.
  7. If you are having a hard time removing the pellicle, just put them in a bowl with
    boiling water and let them soak for a minute. 
  8. This way the skin will loosen and will be removed easily again.

Did you make this project?

Please leave a comment on the blog or share a photo on Instagram

PIN FOR LATER


Kopiaste and Kali Orexi,

Sharing is caring!

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Reeni

Tuesday 23rd of December 2008

Thanks for the great how-to, Ivy!

Joan Nova

Sunday 21st of December 2008

Love, love, love chestnuts. They have always been part of holiday dinners...served at the end with fruits and desserts.

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.

Privacy Policy · Copyright
Skip to Instructions