I ordered fresh Italian Marroni chestnuts from a family orchard in the Sacramento valley for our Thanksgiving feast. The chestnuts arrived only a few days after I requested them from the website. I am happy to report that the chestnuts are sweet, tender, and moist. Roasted, they make an excellent winter treat for before dinner or while sitting around a cozy fire.
Correia Chestnut Farm still has some chestnuts available. Unfortunately, the next shipping date isn’t until January 3. However, I am about to order more of these delicacies, to have on hand for cheering up bitter, rainy, January nights.
Fresh chestnuts require some work to prepare, but their great flavor and tender texture justifies the effort. The most difficult part of the procedure is cutting a cross in the rounded side of the very tough shell. Correia sells a special chestnut cutting knife that simplifies the procedure. Once the nuts are scored, place them cut side up in a shallow pan. Roast at 350°F until the shells begin to peel back at the X, about 30 minutes. Wrap the hot chestnuts in a kitchen towel and squeeze gently to loosen the shells. Then peel off the outer shells and the thin inner skin while the nuts are still hot.
Photos by Correia Chestnut Farm