Chestnuts come from the nut-bearing Castanea tree, which is rare in the United States due to a blight in the early 20th Century. They are now cultivated in Europe and are imported fresh from September through February. Chestnuts are unrelated to horse chestnuts (which are inedible and dangerous to eat) and water chestnuts (a tuber with an apple-like crispness that is widely used in Asian cooking). To roast fresh chestnuts, make a one-inch slash on the flat side of the nut’s shell with a sharp knife, just barely revealing the flesh. Place the nuts on a cookie sheet in a preheated 400� oven until the skins split and the flesh begins to brown (about ten minutes). Peel away the shell with the help of a knife. Chestnuts can also be blanched. After boiling for 3-4 minutes, wrap them in a towel and squeeze hard to crush the skins and extract the meat. Keep fresh chestnuts up to one week in a cool, dry place, or two weeks in a plastic bag in the refrigerator.
The chestnut is used in diverse ways in Korean cuisine. Chestnuts are peeled and eaten raw as a companion for alcoholic drinks and put into cold dishes and even kimchi. They are also added to rice and braised beef rib dishes, are an important ingredient in certain soups, medicinal foods, snacks, and Royal dishes.
Source: Culinary Café�/hannaone
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