Chestnuts are a national pride and a highlight of French cuisine. However, they did not immediately fall into the category of exquisite delicacies. For a long time, this product was considered the food of the lower strata of the population - the poor. They simply picked ripe kernels and roasted them over hot coals. The tradition of selling hot chestnuts has survived to this day. Many tourists, traveling in France, could well see how this delicacy is being prepared right on the street. Some, returning home from a trip, want to repeat the culinary masterpiece and wonder why, when cooking, the kitchen becomes like a minefield - chestnuts explode and fly away, and their taste is not at all like the original. The point is that you need to know how to eat chestnuts, how to cook them correctly and what varieties can be used in general.
What are they - chestnuts?
The first trees with edible kernels were brought to France from the East in the 13th century. Chestnuts were called breadfruit. It was believed that if a seedling or an adult tree grows in someone's garden, then this person will always be well-fed and rich. The chestnuts also had another name. Due to the fact that pigs were fed with their fruits, the tree was called sausage.
However, it should be said that not all chestnuts can be eaten. The inedible variety is called a horse, from which medicines and tinctures are prepared. But the fruits of the edible, or noble, chestnut are just used for food and various dishes are prepared from it. This variety grows in southern Europe. Ripe fruits are harvested in late autumn. For better storage, each chestnut needs to be pricked in several places with a sharp needle.
Today it is the most exquisite delicacy served in France. The locals simply adore it. In October, they celebrate the festival of chestnuts, and they also add these fruits to many dishes. They can be fried, steamed, added to sweets, ice cream, sausages and side dishes. Traditionally, chestnuts are used for stuffing Christmas turkey, and on the basis of a special paste, the most delicate creams are made from this product for decorating cakes and pastries.
How are chestnuts cooked?
The most common way to cook chestnuts is to roast their kernels on hot coals. So that during cooking they do not explode and do not fly over the brazier, small cuts are made on the hard shell with a sharp knife. This ancient technique has survived to this day when chestnuts are cooked in a pan, oven or microwave. However, if you've been to France or watched a travel video, you might well have seen that street chefs don't make any cuts in the skins of the kernels when preparing this delicacy. The thing is that when frying a large number of chestnuts, dissecting the shell of each of them is a rather laborious task. Therefore, the cook uses a special grate that prevents the nuclei from flying in different directions.
Baked chestnuts are far from the only way to prepare the delicacy. For example, this product may well replace potatoes in terms of its taste. You will also get a very tasty and aromatic pilaf if you add a few kernels to it. Chestnuts are used for stuffing poultry, pork, they are added to sauces and sweets.
And from the peeled kernels of this tree, flour is made, which is used to make pies, pies, cakes, pancakes and other pastries. The chestnuts are glazed, and then they taste like candy. Specially made pasta is perfect for decorating cakes, making creams and jams. In addition, there is another chestnut product - honey.
How to eat chestnuts?
If someone is interested in the question of how to eat chestnuts correctly, it is worth noting that some rules for their use still exist. For example, pregnant women and those who are breastfeeding should not eat them. It is worth refraining from absorbing delicacies and those who suffer from food allergies. Still, an unfamiliar product can cause an unwanted reaction in the body. Well, chestnuts are prohibited for those people who have a history of renal failure.
Care should also be taken when choosing the correct variety. For example, eating a horse chestnut can cause serious food poisoning. And edible varieties need to be treated with caution, as overuse of this product usually causes bloating and intestinal problems..