Chestnuts are expensive but if you prepare them yourself, you can save a lot of money. They will then be readily available, as and when you need them. It took me a few years to perfect my technique and I am happy to share it with you below.
1. Remove the shiny outer skin (only buy chestnuts if their outer skin is shiny, a good sign of freshness).This is quite a tedious task but if you do it in front of the TV, it does not feel so bad. One chestnut at a time, push and twist a small pointy knife through the skin and simply peel it off with the blade. As the chestnut is still raw, the flesh will not get squashed inside your hands like it does when cooked. Be careful not to stab yourself though as the skin is tough!
2. Once all your chestnuts have been “undressed”, you need to remove the inner skin. To do this, place three chestnuts inside a small saucepan filled with boiling water. After about one minute, take them out with a slotted ladle, place them on a plate and put another batch of 3 chestnuts inside the saucepan (as the water gets dark after a while, it is useful knowing exactly how many chestnuts you actually have in your saucepan so you don’t leave one behind!)While still hot, pick the chestnuts, one at a time, with a rubber glove (so you don’t burn your fingers!) and rub the skin with your thumb or peel it off with the tip of your knive. The skin should come off easily. If it does not, put it back into the boiling water for another 20 or 30 seconds and try again.
Sometimes, part of the skin will be stuck inside a fold. You will need to use the tip of your knife to remove it.
Make sure that you cut away any black spots or rotten flesh. Only keep healthy yellowish flesh. If you prepare a lot of chestnuts, you might want to change the water occasionally, simply because you will be able to see the chestnuts better.
3. When all the chestnuts have been peeled and cooled, place them in your freezer, inside a plastic bag, in one layer so that you are able to take out as many as you want as and when required. If I have prepared a lot of chestnuts, I am able to have a supply until the next harvest.
I will show you what to do with frozen chestnuts in a future post.
Any question, please don’t hesitate to ask