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Any foolproof way to roast chestnuts ...?

Is there a proper way to roast chestnuts? I've been doing the same routine for years, and a lot of times that inner skin around the chestnut doesn't want to detach itself from the meat. (You know that furry looking one under the nut's hard exterior). I score them, and I roast them using moderate heat (350-375 degrees) for 25 minutes so they don't dry out. Chestnuts take on an unappealing taste when that inner skin cannot be removed. Any suggestions on how to remove that furry skin, or how to properly roast chestnuts would be much appreciated. TIA.

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  1. I have removed the skins by rubbing the roasted nuts between a terrycloth towel.

    1 Reply
    1. re: Kelli2006

      I got tired of burned fingers, cut thumbs, rotten centers after all that work. Now, I buy them in a jar at Wegma's Grocery store. They're by HaddonHouse, cost $7.49 for a 7.4 oz. jar. It's a product of France. Ingred. are whole chestnuts, nothing else. They're PERFECT and delicious just to eat out of the jar. In Wegmas they're in the Baking aisle right above the chocolate chips. DEFINITELY worth the $$$ !!!

    2. I have found that if the furry skin will not come off after the first roasting, I roast them 10 minutes longer. Then I pinch it off. I have always been able to get it all off, after re-roasting.

      1 Reply
      1. re: Becca Porter

        Interesting. Re-roasting. Keeping the exterior shell on I assume? Or did you shell them and re-roast with just the furry skin attached? Sounds like all I have to do is increase my cooking time by ten minutes then, right? I hope they don't dry out and get hard though. Ugh. I'm willing to experiment a bit. : )

      2. I have the same problem. I never know how long to roast them. Some people have told me 15 minutes, and I've read at other places that it takes 45-50 minutes. So, I've start off with 15 minutes. Not done? Put them back. Try again in another 10. Still not done? Give it another 10. I keep repeating this process till they're "done". I eventually lost count in how long I've roasted them for.

        1 Reply
        1. re: anna

          What *usually* works is 25-30 minutes on moderate heat. Oven has to be *preheated*.
          That furry skin can be stubborn though - regardless.

        2. I will remove as much skin as I can before re-roasting. The last time I did this, they did dry out a little, but my oven might have been too high.

          1. I found that boiling them after scoring cooks them AND makes the inner skin come off easily. But then you lose the roasted taste that comes with roasting. I remember in an older Joy of Cooking a picture of an old fashioned chestnut skin remover (couple of sticks with brushes?)

            1. You probably do this anyway, but I've found that if I score them by making an "X" rather than one quick vertical (or horizontal) slit, the inner skin peels more easily. I don't know why this is.

              This is a great day for a Chestnut discussion. Snowing in Boston.

              1. Depending on what you're roasting/cooking them for, the microwave is excellent at getting the shell and skin to loosen. I cut an X then zap them five or six at a time for one minute on high. But, I'm usually extracting the meat for chestnut poultry stuffing. For just plain eating, I'm not so sure.

                1. If you don't mind a related question: how long do roasted chestnuts keep? Can they be frozen after roasting for future recipes?

                  1. Hey. I just beat the squirrles to about a quart of chestnuts for the first time. Have copied several ways to fix them. Looking forward to it.

                    1. I lived in an historic neigborhood in St. Louis, and we served roasted chesnuts and hot cider at our holiday house tours. We grilled them on a weber grill, throwing a couple of sheets of aluminum foil down first. The scored skin was always very easy to remove and the flavor from the grill was a perfect compliment to the chestnuts. Throw a little salt on them and our neighborhood guests were wowed.