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Dec 30, 2008 10:28 PM

?? Chestnuts still good ??

How long do (unroasted) chestnuts keep?

I bought some mid-December at the supermarket, where they were loose, at room temp. I've just had them in a bowl at room temp. I *was* planning to roast them, when I bought them, and then...didn't. I guess because I wasn't sure what I wanted to do with them.

Any chance they're still good? How do you tell? Do they go bad? Thanks.

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  1. Hard to say because it depends on their age, storage, temperature and condition PRIOR to when you bought them. If they were pretty fresh then, you may be okay at this point; especially for using in cooking; best bet is to roast them anyway and find out. When you peel them after roasting you'll know. if they're dark and hard, they're "gone". If there's and mold on any, those are kaput as well. You may still get a decent yield of 50% or more.(size and type is a factor here as well)

    Quality chestnuts are "aged" or cured a bit in a temperature-controlled environment after picking until the shell starts to pull away from the nut. You can feel this if they "give" a bit when squeezed. At that point they are generally stored refrigerated where they'll keep for a while longer. Size, time and temperature are all factors.

    Then take your bounty and do a web search for chestnut recipes; you'll be astounded by all the ways you can use them. A couple examples: mashed (like taters!), sauteed (to add to various concoctions of all kinds), stuffing for winter squash, as a pizza topping (really!), as a stir fry ingredient and all kinds of other stuff. Of course, freshly roasted and peeled they're great just to eat "as is".

    Also, I sometimes grind them into "flour" or meal to add to baked goods... cookies and breads are two good candidates and, I like to replace about a third or so of the corn meal in my cornbread recipe with the chestnut meal - this has gotten numerous raves.

    Experiment and Enjoy... and next time, prepare them when freshest for their full charm. After roasting and peeling, freeze what you don't use right away. Because of their limited seasonal availabiIity, I like to always have a sizable "stash" on hand in my freezer.

    My forthcoming "ThirdStone Cook Book" will have a host of other interesting ways to use these little gems.

    By the way, chestnuts are very low fat and healthy too. And this time of year you may still be able to find the nice large European (often from Italy) ones for a bit longer.

    3 Replies
    1. re: thitdstone

      I really appreciate all this information. It was very helpful.

      These were all firm when I bought them, but some, or most, now do give some when I squeeze them, and I can hear some rattling "free" when I shake them. I'm not sure if this means they're "gone" or not, but...I'm snowed in, I'll be baking later, anyway, so, I might as well as roast 'em up and then look for the signs you told me to check for.

      I had no idea you could freeze them after roasting, thitdstone, so thanks for letting me know. And...if these don't seem to be good any longer, I'll look for some more and give it another try. (Very large Italian population in my area, with many Italian specialty foods and maybe I'll get another chance this year.)

      Thanks again for the education on chestnuts! ;-)

      1. re: Steady Habits

        I bought some fresh? chestnuts from Italy from Trader Joes. Apparently they were on the boat way too long. I roasted them, but when I cracked them over half had a blueish mold on them. I tossed all of them

        1. re: donali

          Ugh. What a disappointment, eh? (Not to mention, waste of money.) I *still* haven't gotten around to roasting them, donali...hope to do it tomorrow. I won't be surprised if mine are moldy, but in this case, it will be my own fault, unlike your situation.

      1. re: bakuninhong


        So...I guess...there are chestnut people in this world and non-chestnut people.

        If I could get around to roasting mine, I'd find out which type I am. :-)