Shiny sweet chestnuts are one of autumn's beloved bounties. Whether you love roasted chestnuts hot from the coals or made into wonderful sweet desserts, one thing is certain, you'll miss them when the season is over.
So why not learn how to store chestnuts and enjoy the bounty of this seasonal produce all year round instead. By laying by a stash of these nuts, you secure a supply of a healthy ingredient. Chestnuts are very low in fat, which is a unique quality for a nut. They also are the only nut high in vitamin C, and they are packed with other antioxidants as well. They are also high in fibre and are good for your heart.
Aside from their nutritional virtues, having a store of versatile chestnuts on hand means you can cook them into any number of traditional sweet and savoury recipes whenever you like. Discover our 10 best chestnut recipes here.Learn how to preserve chestnuts, to retain their wonderful earthy sweetness in your sweet and savoury cooking for the cold months ahead. We discover a variety of simple techniques below.
How to store fresh chestnuts
Remove the prickly outer casing or burrs from your chestnuts and discover several simple ways to go about preserving them or storing them, both raw and cooked.
1. How to store chestnuts in sand
Chestnuts can be preserved under sand, much like carrots. That's right: by alternating chestnuts between layers of dry fine sand inside a wooden container and left in a cool, dry place means they will last a few months.
2. How to store chestnuts in the fridge
Fresh chestnuts left inside their shells keep well in the fridge, where they can be stored easily for up to one month, when the fridge is set at a constant temperature of 2° C or 3° C.
3. How to store chestnuts in the freezer
After cleaning, washing and thoroughly drying fresh chestnuts, they can also be stored in the freezer in food grade bags for up to six months. They store even better when vacuum packed.
4. How to store boiled chestnuts
Alternatively, chestnuts can be stored after boiling. After having boiled shelled chestnuts for about forty minutes, allow them to cool and store in the freezer in food grade freezer bags.
5. How to store roasted chestnuts
If you have any chestnuts left from roasting on the fire or in the oven, allow them to cool and keep them in their shells in the fridge for a few days, or for much longer if in the freezer (vacuum packing helps once again).
6. How to store dehydrated chestnuts
Set a dehydrator to 100 degrees Fahrenheit and dry shelled chestnuts for a couple of days or unshelled chestnuts for three days. The dried chestnuts can be stored for up to two months and simply soaked in water overnight before using them in your favourite recipes.
7. How to store chestnuts in alcohol
Preserving chestnuts in alcohol is an effective method of conservation but above all a delicious way to enjoy a double dose of chestnut flavour at the end of a meal.
Make a chestnut liqueur and double your chestnut bounty by making up a batch of delicious liqueur as well as alcohol-soaked chestnuts to snack on after dinner.
8. How to make chestnut puree
Or, if you want to preserve all of that earthy, wonderful ready-to-eat chestnut sweetness, why not try making chestnut puree, and having a jar on standby for when you want to whip up a mont blanc dessert. All you need is water, sugar, vanilla beans and a sterilised jar to keep your puree safe for months to come.
How to store other nut varieties
Chestnuts are among the least durable varieties of nuts—most other kinds of nuts will have a natural shelf life of around three months at room temperature. However, virtually all the techniques that work for chestnuts can also be used to extend the life of walnuts, pecans, macadamias, almonds, or other nuts. One tip to keep in mind is to store nuts away from onions or other highly aromatic foods because nuts are especially adept at taking on the flavour of ambient odours. If your nuts have gone rancid, this means their oils have gone bad—a problem with no remedy. But if they’ve just gone stale, you can bring back their flavour by toasting them briefly in the oven.