Sunday, October 9, 2011
Chestnut Season And Recipe Links...
This image is from http://www.chestnutsonline.com/...
This month, October, is chestnut harvesting season. Chestnuts are called "castagne" (Cahs-tah-knee-eh)in Italian. My father-in-law has already begun harvesting or picking (raccogliendo... Rah-cohl-ee-en-do). I am just getting better after a seriously bad cold (un raffredore... Rahf-reh-doh-reh), so I have not gone yet; but the chances are that I will soon, now that all of the kids (bimbi... Beem-bee) are in school or preschool (Scuola... Skoo-oh-lah). Of course, I will not go when they are home for sickness or any other reason.
Chestnuts are very popular to this particular area of Italy. They grow in trees and are protected by very tough and spiky shells. As they begin to dry, these shells begin to crack, expose the seed which is the chestnut, and often the seed then falls to the ground. So... a harvester goes to pick up those seeds. Sometimes the shell has fallen with the seed inside, and that is when I have just used my shoe to roll it a bit on the ground to encourage it to open.
By the way, wearing work gloves or old dish gloves IS highly recommended as the spikes sure hurt if they poke the skin. And, the only real danger is that there are often splinters in socks and pants left causing irritation at the end of the day due to dried out spikes that have broken off and attached to clothing. Other than that and normal autumn weather, and long hours bent over, of course, it is easy work.
And, at this site, this site, you can find some interesting facts on the health benefits of chestnuts.
This image is from the site http://pearlconcussion.blogspot.com/
The following link is a neat find. A lot of information on one page, easy to browse through. Though it is in Italian.
It has 100 recipes (in Italian) for using chestnuts. I was particularly interested in the recipe for "Gelato Di Castagne" (Chestnut Ice Cream). Hmmm... May have to figure out how to make that one! I also want to, eventually, make the "Crema Di Castagne" (Chestnut Cream filling).
I have tasted a few different ways that chestnuts have been cooked or prepared. My most favorite is roasted. When done correctly it is just yummy. I will occasionally eat them boiled, after they have been dried. It is super sweet that way. And... there is another way... like a toasted and dried mix which almost makes it taste as if it has been sweeted with some sort of liqueur, but it hasn't. A more acquired taste that way. I have also had a cake roll with a mix of chocolate and chestnut cream, too.
I think that some of my preferences may be due to the fact that some of the recipes including chestnut flour or cream were perhaps not following a good recipe, so I would like to try for myself to see if I will love this healthy and sweet alternative.
For now, I hope that you can utilize some of these recipes. Oh, I have also found a site called chestnutsonline that has information on all kinds of things chestnut, including gluten-free recipes and some "Recipes from Tuscany". I have not looked at the entire site, but found it interesting, so I will pass it along to you.