What are they?
We are talking Sweet Chestnuts here, not Horse Chestnuts (conkers) which are NOT for eating. The Latin name for Sweet Chestnuts is Castanea Sativa and they are deciduous trees which means that they lose their leaves in winter. Sweet Chestnuts have a spikey outer shell rather like a sea urchin, while Horse Chestnuts have a smooth outer case.
Sweet Chestnut trees are native to the northern hemesphire where temperatures are cooler.
In America they are often called buckeyes because the nuts themselves look like the eyes of a deer.
What is in them?
Sweet Chestnuts contain lots of goodness including; Manganese, Citamin B6, Copper, Iron and are the only nuts to contain appreciable levels of vitamin C. 100g of chestnuts contains 53g of carbohydrates.
How are they good for you?
- Increase bone mineral density
- Help prevent diabetes
- Boost immune system
- Releave digestive issues
- Prevent chronic illnesses
- Controle blood pressure
- Improve heart health
- Improve brain function
How to eat them?
Sweet Chestnuts can be eaten raw, roasted or boiled.
In many countries like Greece, France and Portugal you will see chestnut sellers on street corners roasting chestnuts and selling them in small bags for 2 euros.
They are often used in stuffing, especially for the Christmas turkey.
They are cooked and creamed with sugar to make chestnut puree used in cakes and puddings.
In France they are boiled over and over again with sugar and drained to create Marron Glace which are a special candied chestnut and a Christmas treat.