Saturday, October 6, 2007

The right way to peel Castañas

It’s only October and I can smell Christmas in the air! Christmas is not Christmas without Poinsettias, ham, queso de bola, lechon…. and castanas!
Castañas (or chestnuts) is a favorite of my family. We buy them cooked from grocery stores so we don’t have to roast them. Chestnuts are very high in starch. Most people will only eat a few at a sitting but my family just can’t stop once we get started.
However, through the years, I have found a way to peel them without much hassle. Here’s how:

1. Quickly strike each nut with a mallet. Your goal here is to create a small slit across the rounded side of your chestnut. Beware, unsliced chestnuts can explode causing not only a safety hazard but a big mess to boot! (Tita Nena, thank you for the tip).
2. Toast cooked castañas in the oven for 5 minutes or 3 minutes in the toaster
3. Spread into a basket lined with a towel
4. When peeling without the use of a mallet, simply pop the nut with the fat side facing you (see picture). It should be no trouble if your nuts are fresh and newly toasted
5. Be sure to peel away the outer shell and the inner brown skin before eating your chestnuts.
6. Serve roasted chestnuts while still warm for best taste.
7. Remember to always store unused fresh, cooked, and/or roasted chestnuts in the refrigerator

While you are at it, here's Nat to sing you the Christmas song.... Enjoy!

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