Among the many beautiful things of autumn, from the colorful landscapes to the sweet laziness of the evenings on the sofa, in front of the TV, it is impossible not to think about the culinary delights that this season gives us. Autumn is in fact very often synonymous with chestnuts, a food known and appreciated especially in past times; used, among other things, to make the so-called “bread of the poor”, given their low cost and the high spread in the peasant civilization. In order to fully enjoy its taste throughout the year, however, you need to know how to keep chestnuts in good condition: here are some useful tips.
How to store raw and cooked chestnuts
Chestnuts can be stored either raw or cooked, in the form of roast chestnuts or boiled, cooled and frozen in food bags. The raw ones last about 2/3 months, while the cooked ones last up to a year. Let us see in detail, however, other differences between the preservation of the raw (or fresh) product and the cooked one. There is no better time than October to dedicate to harvesting: with appropriate techniques they will last for a long time.
Starting with fresh chestnuts, a quite common method to preserve the freshness, even up to 3 months, is the curing in water (also called novena). Thanks to this process, which consists of immersion in water for about 9 days, the chestnuts preserve all the organoleptic characteristics they possess at harvest time. Here is how to do the curing in water:
- the first step is to dip the chestnuts in water and leave them to soak for four days, changing half the water in the container every day;
- on the fifth day, remove all the water and soak them again in clean water;
- between the sixth and the ninth day, proceed again with a partial change of water;
- finally leave the chestnuts to dry for two days in the air in a shady place. It is essential to avoid roasting them in the sun to speed up the procedure: by becoming dry, they would lose their nutritional properties.
- Inf Finally, put them in jute bags and keep them in the fridge or in the basement at a temperature of about 4 °C.
And the cooked chestnuts?
Whether boiled or in the form of roast chestnuts, cooked chestnuts can be conveniently stored in the freezer at a temperature of -20°. In this way they keep their taste unchanged for a period of six months.
Cooked chestnuts can also be preserved in the form of ready-made desserts, especially if eaten together with honey. Here is how to do it. Peel them, put them in the oven or in a pan and as soon as they are warm remove the skin. Then put the chestnuts in a jar and set them aside momentarily. In a saucepan, melt the honey with the vanilla berry and pour the mixture into the jar. All you have to do now is boil it in boiling water for about half an hour, until it is hermetically sealed. Or, following the same steps, you can use brown sugar and a teaspoon of honey.
How to store freshly harvested chestnuts
In addition to the methods already illustrated, chestnuts can be dried, through progressive dehydration, so as to make them easily digestible. Although it comes from the ancient tradition, it is recommended to the most health-conscious, as it increases the concentration of nutrients and mineral salts. In this way they remain in excellent condition for over 12 months.
The drying process is especially suitable for small-sized and easy to peel chestnuts. Exposed to the sun, spread in a thin layer over nets suspended from the ground, in the evening they should be placed in a dry place and stirred daily.
The drying time is about 5/6 weeks; however, it varies depending on weather conditions.
Preserve chestnuts in jars
We just saw that among the various recipes useful for preserving chestnuts there is an unbelievably delicious variation that mixes them with honey.
But there is also another interesting way to preserve chestnuts in jars: to prepare them in syrup!
In this video recipe you can see the “standard” preparation process
But the most interesting thing is that chestnuts in syrup can be flavoured in many ways, according to individual preferences and tastes. Some examples: orange, cinnamon, cloves, and various types of liqueur, such as Brandy, Cognac, Rum or Grappa.
This method of preservation guarantees a shelf life of 12 months.
In short, all you have to do is try our excellent chestnuts and indulge your imagination.
Go to the shop and discover fresh or dried chestnuts in various sizes!