Chestnuts Roasting On An Open Fire (How To Roast Chestnuts)
 Chestnuts drop from the trees in the fall. See photo #4 (photo © Tijana Drndarrski | Unsplash).
 The husk of the chestnut, also called the burr, is bright green and snazzy (photo © Umami Information Center | Facebook).
How would you like to roast your own chestnuts at home? Just the fragrant aroma of them is enough to make mouths water and fingers itch to peel them for snacking.
You don’t need a working fireplace to roast the chestnuts. Back in the old days, the fireplace was the only source of heat in the kitchen. Today, we have other options.
You can roast chestnuts in the oven in a pan, or on the stovetop with a special chestnut roasting pan. A chestnut roasting kit, complete with two pounds of chestnuts, is available at Melissas.com and elsewhere. It makes a nice family gift.
Compared to other nuts, chestnuts are composed chiefly of starch; other nuts have a larger percentage of protein.
The nutritional composition of chestnuts is similar to that of other starchy foods—corn, plantains, potatoes, etc. Yet, they are a better-for-you snack, a good source of minerals, vitamins, and some high-quality protein.
December 14th is Roast Chestnuts Day.
1. PREHEAT oven to 350°F. Cut an X on the flat side of each nut using a small, sharp knife. Be careful not to cut into the nutmeat.
2. OVEN ROASTING: Place the nuts in a single layer on an ungreased baking sheet and roast until the scored portions begin to curl up and the nuts release their fragrance, 15 to 20 minutes.
CHESTNUT PAN ROASTING: Heat the pan over medium-low heat and add the chestnuts. Cook, tossing the chestnuts frequently until the shells crack and the chestnuts are cooked through. The timing is 30 to 35 minutes over a gas flame burner or 35 to 40 minutes over an electric or induction burner.
3. REMOVE the nuts to a plate and eat immediately. Peeling the nuts is part of the fun, and each person may want to peel his or her own (or, you can peel all of them in the kitchen before serving). However, they are hot.
If the nuts are very hot, pick up individual nuts using a kitchen towel or other protection. Then with fingers or a knife, peel away the shell. Remove the inner skin, pop a nut into your mouth and enjoy.
“Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire” is the informal name of “The Christmas Song”; it was originally subtitled “Merry Christmas to You.” This Christmas classic was composed by Mel Torme and Bob Wells in 1946.
The most popular recording remains the first one, recorded by Nat King Cole. Here’s Nat King Cole on YouTube—the vocal track over a Christmas tree and fireplace visual.
You can sing along:
Chestnuts roasting on an open fire,
Everybody knows a turkey and some mistletoe,
They know that Santa’s on his way;
And so I’m offering this simple phrase,