The Chestnut is undoubtedly delicious especially when roasted over an open fire, grill, oven, you name it. So what is so interesting about this nutritious food?
The chestnut is an edible nut with a rich and delicate flavor that is harvested from a large deciduous tree. Botanically, it belongs to the family Fagaceae, in the genus Castanea bearing the scientific name Castanea sativa. This is the same family you find other Northern Hemisphere trees such as the Oak and the Beech. It may be good to note now that the chestnuts here are not related to the horse chestnut or the water chestnut.
The chestnut is native to the temperate regions of the Northern hemisphere regions. Basically, we are talking about the areas in North America, China, Japan, and Europe as a whole.
There are four varieties of chestnut around the world which are the European, Chinese, Japanese, and American species.
The fruit which contains the nut is contained in a sharp spiny cupule which measures about five to eleven cm in diameter and is called bur or burr. The fruit contains between one and seven nuts within them depending on the variety.
The world’s top producers of chestnuts are China, Turkey, Italy, South Korea, and Bolivia respectively. They grow best in well-drained fertile soils with plenty of sunlight. It also grows well on slopes with loose soil. The Chinese variety can also grow well in dry, rocky and poor soils.
Chestnuts are available in markets in the fall and running into winter through spring. In the stores, one should look for larger and fresh nuts. Avoid nuts that have turned green and rancid. Also, avoid those that have cuts and bruises.
These nuts don’t keep for very long seeing they are low in fats and oils and high in starch. Therefore they should be stored in a refrigerator with relatively high humidity as you would vegetables and fruits. They should be placed in a perforated bag.
Best Practice in Enjoying the Chestnut as Food
The chestnut is a pleasant and delicately flavored nut. It has a sweet flavor and rather starchy. They can be eaten as a snack raw, To roast is to cook food in indirect or diffused dry heat such as in an oven where the heat surrounds the food somewhat evenly. This method of cooking helps impart flavor and while the texture on the surface is caramelized and browned. Generally, it is meat, poultry, fish and root vegetables which tend to be roasted. It results in... More, steamed, or To boil is to cook food in hot bubbling water or other liquid such as stock, milk, wine or others to soften the food and alter its texture and flavor. Boiling protects food from burning as the liquid prevents the temperatures from rising beyond the liquids boiling point. Cooking food in a liquid such as oil is not considered boiling... More. When To roast is to cook food in indirect or diffused dry heat such as in an oven where the heat surrounds the food somewhat evenly. This method of cooking helps impart flavor and while the texture on the surface is caramelized and browned. Generally, it is meat, poultry, fish and root vegetables which tend to be roasted. It results in... More the chestnut it is advisable to slit the nuts to stop them from popping in the heat.
You can use the nut as a major ingredient in the Stuffing also known as filling or dressing is a food substance that is used to fill cavities in other food items during the process of preparation. It can be used during the cooking processes or post cooking processes. Common examples of foods that are stuffed include Turkey, roast chicken, boiled eggs, seafood, and vegetables. The stuffing usually consists of herbs,... More of poultry. They can also be used to make buttercream and used as a spread or dip. The nuts are also used to add richness to cakes and other To bake is to cook food in prolonged dry heat in an oven, coal pit or hot sand. The prolonging allows for the heat to spread throughout the dish. This method is very similar to roast cooking. Virtually every type of food can be baked but it is usually the exclusive method of choice for preparation of foods like bread,... More goods like pies.
Nutritional and Health Benefits
Chestnuts unlike other other nuts are not as rich in oils and fats but are richer in carbohydrates. They are rich in protein, vitamins, minerals, and phytonutrients.
These nuts contain no cholesterol and contain 213 A calorie is a unit of energy used in several fields. It is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at one atmospheric pressure or the pressure at sea level. When relating to food, Calories with capital "C", also known as the food calorie the same energy as 1000... More per 100 grams of A calorie is a unit of energy used in several fields. It is the amount of energy needed to raise the temperature of one gram of water by one degree Celsius at one atmospheric pressure or the pressure at sea level. When relating to food, Calories with capital "C", also known as the food calorie the same energy as 1000... More mainly from the starch. It is a great source of carbohydrates and dietary Fiber also referred to as dietary fiber or roughage is the indigestible portion of food derived from plants. It comes either soluble in water or insoluble. They are normally resistant to absorption in the human digestive tract. They are found in fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. It helps increase bulk in ingested foods, softens stool and shortens the total time... More.
Chestnuts contain a decent amount of the b-complex vitamins including Folates are also known as Folic acid or vitamin B9 is good for DNA synthesis and is essential for alleviating Anemia and in pregnant women infant neural tube defects. It is a water-soluble vitamin. Folic acid can be found naturally in leafy green vegetables. Steam cooking helps retain more of the vitamin during cooking. You can also get it from... More, Niacin is also known as Nicotinic acid or vitamin B3 and is useful for the prevention of nausea, skin and mouth lesions, anemia, headaches and exhaustion. It is also useful in the regulation of high cholesterol in the system. It an be found mainly in protein foods like liver, chicken, beef, fish, cereal, peanuts and legumes.... More, Pantothenic acid is also known as vitamin B5. It is a water soluble vitamin used by animals to synthesize coenzyme-A (CoA), as well as to metabolize proteins, carbohydrates and fats. Major food sources include dried mushrooms, liver, dried egg yolks and sunflower seeds among others. Pantothenic acid deficiency is extremely rare but symptoms include impaired energy production, irritability, fatigue, and... More, Pyridoxine is also known as pyridoxol or vitamin B6 and can be gotten from fruit, vegetables, and grains. It helps prevent confusion, ulcerations, conjuctivitis, intertigo and neuropathy among others. Alcoholics and the elderly are usually the demographics that tend to have increased risk of vitamin B6 deficiency.... More, Riboflavin is also known as vitamin B2 helps prevent migraines and is good for cellular respiration. It can be found in eggs, milk, meat and green vegetables. Deficiency results in symptoms similar to Pellagra. Others include chapped lips, red tongue, sore throat, inflammation of the mouth and scaly rashes on private parts.... More, and Thiamin, Thiamine or Vitamin B1 helps prevent disorders like beriberi and korsakoff's syndrome and can lead to metabolic coma and death. Yeast, yeast extract, pork, whole grain brown bread and other cereals are good sources of vitamin B1.... More. In addition to these, they also contain plenty of vitamin C.
The nuts can also be found to be a good source of Potassium and other minerals including Copper, Iron, Manganese, and Phosphorus. It also contains lesser amounts of Calcium, Magnesium, and Zinc.