There’s much more to chestnuts than roasting on an open fire.
For thousands of years the chestnut was a primary source of nutrition in the mountainous areas of the Mediterranean, where grains did not grow well. Over the years their consumption somewhat declined but chestnuts are back on the gastronomy scene and a favorite in almost every modern cuisine.
The ancient Greeks deemed the chestnut superior to almonds, hazelnuts and walnuts. They may have had a point, because, as it seems, nutritionally, chestnuts hardly resemble their tree-nut cousins and are much more like whole grains. They are low in calories, low in fat, the only nut that contains Vitamin C, high in fiber, have a low glycemic index, contain essential amino acids necessary for muscle growth and are gluten free, thus excellent for those with wheat allergies and celiac disease.
Chestnuts are a very versatile food and can be incorporated into a wide variety of dishes. Their high starch content also makes them a wonderful substitute for cereal and can even be used as a vegetable in many recipes.
In Greece, as well as other countries where chestnuts are popular, you’ll find street vendors selling freshly roasted chestnuts, but they are also easy to roast and enjoy at home too. They are great raw, roasted or boiled, on their own as a snack, in salads, soups, garnish for meat dishes or stuffing recipes. (If you’re in a rush, the precooked and peeled ready for consumption chestnuts, sold in most food stores, are a great time saver.)
Our Rosemary and Spice Chestnut Dressing/Stuffing recipe is a really fragrant and incredibly delicious stuffing for either turkey, goose or chicken alike, but can also be served as a side dish with any other meat dish as well.
Add this low-fat, gluten free, healthy nut to your favorites this holiday season.