The sweet, comforting scent of roasting chestnuts is an instant pick-me-up on a cold evening. Want to roast them at home for the holidays? Here's how.
Chestnut season runs from early October through late December. Look for healthy, unwrinkled shells and a glossy brown surface. Dingy or mottled shells may indicate mold, and small pinholes likely indicate that worms have been drilling; avoid such nuts. Fresh chestnuts are firm to the touch and heavy in the hand, with no space between the shell and the meat of the nut inside.
First, using a sharp knife, make an incision about 1/8-inch deep through each chestnut shell, just into the flesh of the nut, and work your way almost around its circumference.
Warm chestnuts are delicious by themselves, but you can also use them in these decadent holiday desserts and hearty soups:
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