Chestnut FAQs

Are chestnuts perishable?

Yes, chestnuts are perishable and must be handled like a fruit or vegetable. They must be refrigerated. Store them in a breathable bag in the coldest part of the refrigerator. Fresh chestnuts are best consumed within two weeks of purchasing. Chestnuts can also be frozen prepared (cooked and peeled) or fresh frozen in the shell. Thaw frozen chestnuts in the shell in the refrigerator overnight, then cook and consume the following day.

What does a chestnut taste like?

You'd be surprised if you were expecting chestnuts to taste like other nuts such as almonds or pecans. The taste is sweet and earthy, somewhat resembling a sweet potato. They become sweeter as they cure.

Can a chestnut really pop or explode when it is being cooked?  

Yes, a chestnut that is cooked without scoring the shell can explode when it is cooked. Chestnuts are about 50% water, which turns to steam as it cooks and must escape the shell. To prevent your chestnuts from popping, you must score the nut before cooking. There are many ways to score a chestnut. The most common method is to make an X-shaped cut on the flat side of the chestnut preferably using a chestnut knife.

What is a chestnut knife?

A chestnut knife looks similar to a carpet knife but smaller. It has a slightly curved blade that allows control as you pierce the shell.

What is the best way to peel a chestnut?

Peeling a chestnut while it is still warm eases the removal of the shell and inner fibrous skin (pellicle). After cooking your chestnuts, try wrapping them in a dishtowel to keep them warm and moist. Be careful handling the hot chestnuts.

What is a pellicle?

A pellicle is a thin fibrous skin inside the shell that surrounds the nut. It should be removed before eating. 

Explore Chestnuts 101 to learn more...