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Oct 6, 2006 11:53 AM

Chestnut Season

I take few cooking shortcuts. But for chestnuts, make an exception.
Anyone have an opinion about vacuum packed in shrink plastic or in a
jar? The issue is when chestnuts are used in a recipe like stuffing.
For snacks - I'm making the tough cuts on fresh ones. ( I usually
roast them but my corner Korean grocer is always urging me to boil.)

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  1. The quality varies on the vacuum packed ones, even with the same brand. I've had some that were really moist and sweet and the next bag really dry. I've tried so many tricks on separating chestnuts from the skin and still have trouble with it so the bags are easy when I want a quick snack. I've only cooked with the ones from the jar and it turns out okay but then you're adding different flavors to it and not depending on the chestnut taste alone. The problem w/ making stuffing might be that chestnuts aren't a strong taste anyway, especially in stuffing, so if you use the vacuum packed or the jar, it might be even weaker.

    1. Try the frozen ones from Trader Joes. My only problem with them was that I kept eating them right out of the bag. Thank you.

      2 Replies
        1. re: Bride of the Juggler

          I've been using the TJ frozen ones for several years, but on a recent camping trip I tried their vacumm packed ones. They were pretty good, and since they were already peeled, even easier to use than the frozen ones. More expensive, though.

        2. Fresh tastes best, but honestly who has a spare 5 hours to peel the little buggers after they've been roasted? I've used jarred chestnuts from France which were disappointingly mushy and tasteless.

          My favorite, both in quality and texture has been the vacuum-packed ones you get at Asian markets. Reasonable prices and available out of season. I second the previous post that the quality is inconsistent, but they're still better than the mushy versions. Be aware, however, that since Asians eat them as snacks some of the chestnuts may be made with sugar, which may require some correction in your savory recipes.

          1. Many Asians prefer boiling fresh chestnuts but I find it makes them waterlogged and impossible to peel. They also like to boil peanuts for snack. I much prefer roasting them for their wonderful aroma and nutty flavor.