I probably shouldn’t admit this as a chestnut farmer, but I really don’t understand why people rave about roasted chestnuts. The first time I had roasted chestnuts was on an icy morning from a street vendor in London, and they were…okay. I couldn’t rave about them. Perhaps you need to have the history of roasting chestnuts in front of a winters fire in your memory to love them. I don’t know. But for me, they are just…okay.
We have an Italian customer who adores them roasted in the oven then sprinkled with salt and lemon and juice and snacked on with a glass or three of red wine.
However, I decide to steam some, and oh my … then I could understand why people rave! Steamed chestnuts are totally divine, and now I will rave about chestnuts. Steaming seems to bring out that incredible sweetness and nutty flavour all rolled into one. They are like sweet potatoes only nutty – simply gorgeous. I am totally addicted and keep a container of steamed chestnuts in the fridge and throw a handful or two into everything – really! Everything!
These wintery mornings John prefers porridge, so I throw a handful into the porridge. Now with my hypoglycaemia I usually have five meals a day, I have first breakfast and second breakfast at around 10:30 or 11:00, then I have first lunch at around 1:00 or 1:30 and second lunch at around 2:30 or 3:00 and then my evening meal. However, if I put a handful of chestnuts into the morning porridge then I don’t need second breakfast, I have lunch at noon with John. So it seems that chestnuts apart from being gluten free and low GI are also very filling which means I am eating less.
If I make a curry, I throw in a handful or two of the nutty sweet little morsels and at other times I use them as an extra vegetable tossed with butter and salt and they are heavenly. I make chestnut pudding which has John drooling and coming back for seconds every time. Yes, steamed chestnuts have definitely become a “must- have” at our table.
This morning I decided to try and experiment and preserve some in our raw honey. I just can’t wait to try some, but will force myself to wait a week or so to let the flavours infuse.
Here is how I made it:
Enough peeled chestnuts to fill the chosen jar – I used about 1 ½ cups of peeled chestnuts that were pre-steamed.
Enough raw honey to fill the chosen jar – I used about 1 cup of raw honey.
Thoroughly wash the jar to get it scrupulously clean and then sterilise it. You can sterilise the jar in the oven at 130C for 25 minutes or put the jar upright in a deep pot and fill the pot with water until it covers the jar by 2cm and boil the jar for a minimum of 10 minutes to sterilise it.
While the jar is being sterilised, steam the chestnuts. To steam simply place peeled chestnuts in a steamer and steam for 15 minutes.
Remove from the heat and allow them to cool.
Pack the steamed chestnuts into your sterilised jar, let the jar cool a little first so you can handle it. Alternate the chestnuts and honey, filling the jars in layers. A layer of nuts to 1 tbsp of honey. Be sure that the nuts are well covered in honey and that the jars are full and packed tightly.
Seal securely with lid, label and store in a cool dark place.
We will be using these honeyed chestnuts on plain yogurt, on porridge and in anything else that would benefit from the taste sensation of honeyed chestnuts.