Chestnuts toasting beneath an electric grill…

Yeah ok, it doesnt quite have that same Christmas time ring to it, but unless you happen to have an open fire handy (not in this flat mate) it’s a good deal more practical.

If you are living tramp style, with a campfire and a load of chestnuts, try sticking them in a pan over the fire and cooking them like that, yum yum.

Anyway, for those of us without campfires to hand… So you want to know what to do with those windfall chestnuts you scrounged?

In fact there’s plenty you can do, boil them, roast them, microwave them, or as in this example – toast them.

No, don’t go sticking them in the toaster, that’s a recipe for disaster, instead use the grill, think cheese on toast, not pop tarts.

First, get your chestnuts:

chestnutsThey come out of little spiky shells, like a cross between beech nuts and conkers I suppose…

chestnut shellThen you need to score them, cutting through the shell, but trying not to cut into the ‘nut flesh’ (ouch!) We do this to ensure the little fellas dont explode while being toasted (holy exploding chestnuts batman!)

chestnuts scoredThen toast the beggars, bung them under the grill and toast them as if they were pieces of bread, you want them in there until the shells are kind of dark/blackened and peeling off.

toastedIn the above peculiarly bad picture, you can see one well toasted chestnut, and two others which seem less well done. They all tasted nice though.

Toasted chestnuts make a good snack, the sweet chestnut was actually introduced to the Uk by the Romans, who brought it in as a high calorific staple, which was handy really. Apparently they don’t germinate very easily, so if you fancy a chestnut tree of your own (me too, me too) then you’re most likely best off buying a young tree from a reputable supplier.

If you’re serious about growing your own food, then chestnuts can be an important part of a diet, providing as they do those necessary calories, which other things just dont have. Also trees are very important for bees, the amount of flowers on a tree is much greater than you might think, and can make a massive difference to the amount of nectar and pollen around – got to keep those bees busy!

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