Chestnut Facts & Trivia
The Chestnut is considered an ancient nut which was probably one of the first foods consumed by mankind. The Chestnut was spread throughout Europe by the Greeks and Romans. Most Chestnut trees found in North America are of the European variety, Castanea sativa. However, there were Chestnut trees that were native to North America, Castanea dentata, that were wiped out in the early 1900’s by a deadly Asian fungus. The only native Chestnut trees that survived were located on the west coast, in California and the Pacific Northwest.
Why are Chestnuts So Good For You?
Chestnuts are a delicious treat, either roasted or cooked in soups or other recipes, and have considerable nutritional value.
- The fiber content of chestnuts, 3 g per 100 g, is higher than that of walnuts, with 2.1 g per 100 g, pecans, 2.3 g per 100 g, and pistachios 1.9 g per 100 g but about half that of hazelnuts. Their fiber content makes them a low glycemic index food — one that raises blood sugar slowly.
- Chestnuts are high in vitamin C, minerals, such as potassium, copper and magnesium, amino acids and antioxidants.
- Chestnuts contain high levels of essential fatty acids, including linoleic acid, which are beneficial to cardiovascular health and proper neurological development in infants.
What does it look/taste like?
The Chestnut has a creamy white flesh and crisp texture. The flavor of the Chestnut is sweet and somewhat starchy. These nuts have a round shape and are surrounded by a spiny case when harvested from the tree. Fresh Chestnuts have the consistency of potatoes when boiled or roasted.
How do you eat them?
- Chestnuts are consumed raw, deep-fried or roasted
- Chestnuts are dried into flour to make cakes, breads, muffins, soup thickener and polenta.
- Chestnuts can be candied, steamed, boiled, grilled or used in savory or sweet dishes.
- It could be tossed in soups or added to salads.
- The nuts are used to prepare chocolates, pastries, ice cream etc.
- Chinese use chestnuts as snacks.
- They are used in the desserts.
- Chinese chestnuts are added to the lamb and mutton dishes.
- Chestnuts are used on puddings.
- The nuts are used a vital ingredient in poultry stuffing.
- Chinese chestnuts are used to make the chestnut butter–cream.