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Nov 27, 2012 10:55 AM

Anybody having good luck with chestnuts this year?

I'm a huge fan of roasted chestnuts. Last year was an unbelievably good year for the chestnuts in my opinion. Most were meaty, sweet, the "hair" didn't stick to the meat and there were very few mold ones. This year I've bought 3 batches and they're all dry, flavorless and hairy. Bummed! I'm wondering if Italy had terrible weather for chestnuts this year or if I should stop buying them from the Food Coop, which is where I got all my awesome ones last year.

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  1. I started using the pre-peeled, steamed ones from Trader Joes, and they have been great! Since they are shelf-stable, you can keep them on hand in case you get inspired. I don't recall exactly, but I think they were $3 or $4 for maybe 1/2 lb. I saw a pouch of them at my regular store last week too, so if you don't have a TJ's near by you might just try that. Good luck!

    1. Mine this year were from Italy, and they took forever to peel. In recent previous years, they were from China and I had little difficulty. Gio recommended the TJ's pre-peeled, and she says they are as tasty as fresh, so I think I'll go that route in the future.

      3 Replies
      1. re: Veggo

        I find the pre-packaged and/or jarred are perfectly fine for things like chestnut stuffing, chestnut cremes, ice cream and the like but for simple roasted chestnuts to eat plain by the handful? Only the real deal will work, IMHO.

        I bought some from WF this year and while they seemed a little drier than usual they were delicious! However I didn't note from where the came.

        Side note-when I need a bunch for something like stuffing I cook them in the microwave. Just make an X, and nuke for aprox 30 seconds to 1 minute depending on size and quantity. Makes them SO easy to peel.

        1. re: foodieX2

          Thanks, everyone! I use them exclusively for snacking, so roasting is my only option. Mine are from Italy, but like I said, so far no luck. Maybe our supplier is bad. I will try another store and see how it goes!

          1. re: vvv03

            If you have a Costco in your area, check them as well. Ours here in VA have peeled pre-cooked chestnuts in sealed bags in the aisle where they sell their dried fruits & nuts.

      2. I've ordered chestnuts from Girolami Farms and been very happy with theirs--fresh, relatively easy to peel, and no nasty moldy ones. Somebody else posted a similar question here before Thanksgiving, and I suggested them. She ordered hers and posted that they were plump and sweet and she would definitely order from Girolami again.

        2 Replies
        1. re: MsMaryMc

          Thanks, but they are sold out for the year!

          1. re: vvv03

            Bummer! They really are that good--worth bookmarking for next year!

        2. I've been to two Asian markets in the last week, and they have big fat beautiful chestnuts, only at both places they're labeled "water chestnuts". They're not water chestnuts at all, but they're gorgeous. I bought some. Now, does anybody have a good way to crosshatch them easily? It seems like the hardest part, despite my sharpest knives. There has to be a trick to it.

          2 Replies
          1. re: EWSflash

            I bought a special crescent-shaped knife that does a great job. I try to avoid acquiring more esoteric, single-purpose kitchen gadgets, but I made an exception here because chestnuts are such a pain in the butt to slit and peel, this was the only way I was ever going to keep making them!


            1. re: EWSflash

              I love them so much that I actually bought a gadget that does it for you. Looks like a garlic press, but fits a chestnut. If you do it much, I highly recommend it!

            2. Certainly seems to have been an issue this year. Not sure where they've been imprted from but they've been pretty much a disaster on both occasions we've bought them this year. More than you'd expect have been mouldy, the shells have been difficult to get off and they've been very mealy

              1 Reply
              1. re: Harters

                Actually, the ones I"ve seen here have been huge and in good shape- no idea where the crops are coming from.