How to Cook Chestnuts in the Microwave, Quick and Easy
Chestnuts are popular as healthy and tasty snacks. But, of course, chestnuts need to be cooked before they can be eaten. It is quick and easy to cook chestnuts in the microwave. You can also cook chestnuts in the oven or on the stovetop.
One of the best things about autumn and winter is the aroma of roasted chestnuts in the air. Everyone enjoys the delicate sweet-and-nutty taste that roasted chestnuts have. They can also go into desserts and savory dishes. Cooking this nut enhances its flavor, and you can cook chestnuts in the microwave oven.
Roasting chestnuts in the microwave takes less than 5 minutes, and it is the quickest way to prep the nuts. Besides being a time-saving process, cooking chestnuts in the microwave is also really easy. All you need is to make an incision! But you can also cook chestnuts in the traditional oven or on the stovetop!
Keep reading to find out how to cook chestnuts!
How to Cook Chestnuts in the Microwave
For New Yorkers, roasted chestnuts sold in bags on the streets mean autumn and winter. However, this delicious snack is a seasonal favorite in Native American regions, Europe, and Asia. If you have raw chestnuts you want to pop into your mouth or use in recipes, it’s essential to cook them first to remove the bitterness.
To cook chestnuts in the microwave often, you have to follow a few easy steps:
- Using a knife, score the chestnuts, i.e., make incisions on the rounded side of the chestnut shells in the form of a cross (X).
- Line anything between 5 and 25 chestnuts on a shallow microwavable glass plate.
- Microwave the chestnuts on High for 3-4 min, and keep stirring the nuts every minute.
- Cook the nuts for 5 min if your microwave cannot power up beyond 750 W.
- Let the chestnuts rest for another 5 min before peeling off the skin.
You will know that the chestnuts are ready when the skin becomes soft and the nuts slip out of the skin easily upon squeezing them. It’s best to start peeling when the chestnuts are still a little hot. That’s when it is easiest to peel them. Just make sure that they are cool enough for you to handle them after cooking.
If you have more time, there’s an extra step you can add. After cutting the crosses on shells, place the chestnuts in a bowl and cover them with water. Then, allow them to soak for about 20-30 minutes and drain the water before microwaving them at 750 W. This will make the peel softer and prevent burning.
Other Ways of Cooking Chestnuts
The fastest way to cook chestnuts is by popping them in the microwave and setting them to roast for 3-5 minutes. But what will you do if you do not have a microwave oven in your kitchen? Surely, it doesn’t mean you should not enjoy chestnuts. Instead, you have to use the traditional methods of cooking them.
- Cooking Chestnuts in the Oven
Most people who prefer cooking in traditional ovens easily cook their stock of raw coconuts in the oven. There are two ways of doing this. You can either directly bake the nuts by baking them in the oven. Or you can boil the chestnuts in water first and then bake them to cook the chestnuts twice.
To bake chestnuts in the oven, follow the steps below –
- Using a sharp knife, score the chestnuts.
- Preheat the oven to 425 F.
- Line the chestnuts on a baking rack in one layer.
- Bake the chestnuts for about 20-30 min.
- Let the chestnuts rest for 5 min before attempting to peel them.
Before baking the chestnuts in the oven, you can boil them in the following way –
- Heat water at 250 F for 10-15 min.
- Then, place the scored chestnuts in hot water.
- Cook the chestnuts for about 15-20 min and pull them out.
- Cooking Chestnuts on the Stovetop
If you do not have a traditional oven at home, either, don’t worry! You can still cook the chestnuts on the stovetop. You can either roast the chestnuts in a shallow pan. Or you can boil them, and the duration of boiling will determine the texture of the nuts. The ultimate result will be melt-in-your-mouth chestnuts.
a) Roasting Chestnuts on the Stovetop:
To roast chestnuts on the stovetop, the following steps will come in handy –
- Set a shallow pan on high heat and put some oil in the pan.
- Toss the scored chestnuts into the pan and stir them for 15 min.
- Add 1/4 cup of water to the pan. Stir for 5 min until the water evaporates.
b) Boiling Chestnuts on Stovetop:
It is easy to boil chestnuts on the stove. All you have to do is the following –
- For a firm texture, boil the chestnuts in water for 15-20 min.
- To get soft pulp, bring the water to a boil and cook the nuts for 25-30 min.
- Cooking Chestnuts in Air Fryer
It’s not just the traditional ways of cooking that will allow you to cook chestnuts. For example, if you have an air fryer at home, it will enable you to cook your chestnuts easily and pop them out of their shells. Doing so will allow you to cook the chestnuts without oil, just like in the traditional oven, and it will take less time.
To cook chestnuts in an air fryer, do the following:
- Preheat the air fryer to 400 F.
- Put the scored chestnuts in the basket and cook them for 10-15 min.
So now you know that there are various ways of cooking chestnuts using the oven, air fryer, or stove. You can roast, parboil, or boil chestnuts or combine two methods. The texture will be different every time. No matter which method or medium you choose, you can choose to soak them first for 25-30 minutes.
How Long to Store Chestnuts
Once cooked, it’s a good idea to enjoy chestnuts the same day to experience all the freshness of the nuts. However, for the best taste, aroma, and texture, devour them while still hot. If you want to use them in other preparations, you can store your peeled chestnuts for 1-2 weeks.
It would be best if you stored them in an air-tight container in a cool and dry place. Otherwise, they will go bad quickly. When cooked chestnuts start to go bad, they might develop a visible mold, rendering them unfit for consumption. They may also go hard, which might be fixed by soaking in water before baking or boiling.
Why Cook Chestnuts Before Eating
The general norm is to cook them first before munching on them as an autumn or winter snack. But have you ever wondered why you have to do that? You probably already know that roasting or boiling chestnuts improves the taste and texture of the nuts. Cooking also makes it easier to peel off the skin.
Here’s why you should cook chestnuts before eating them:
Raw chestnuts can taste bitter. This is because of the presence of tannic acid, which is a form of tannin. In fact, did you know that chestnuts are an essential source of vegetable tannin? This tannic acid in the paper-like skin of chestnuts gives the nuts an unpleasant taste. But it goes away when boiled or roasted.
The level of tannic acid is extremely high in chestnuts. For most people, this tannin does not render chestnuts unfit for consumption. However, you have to be careful because many people also face stomach irritation and nausea when eating raw chestnuts. It can also damage the liver or kidneys.
So don’t take the risk of getting stomach problems or other issues by eating raw chestnuts. But most people choose to eat cooked chestnuts as a snack because of the taste factor. Roasting develops a slight sweetness in chestnuts. Plus, cooking improves their texture and makes them soft like sweet potatoes.
Popular Ways of Having Chestnuts Around the World
Your favorite snack, chestnut, comes from a deciduous tree, and if you have never seen the outer covering of the nut, you’ll be surprised. The outer shell, called the burr, is prickly and inedible. So, even though seeds of some fruits are often categorized as nuts, chestnuts are real nuts, i.e., the actual fruits.
It is a popular snack all over the world and is available readily in autumn and winter. Here’s how people have been enjoying chestnuts around the globe since time immemorial –
- Snack: Roasted chestnuts are enjoyed as a street-side snack in Korea, China, and New York City, as well as in Portugal, where it is also eaten around a bonfire on the harvest day.
- Flour: Chestnut flour is a popular ingredient used in making bread, cakes, pancakes, pasta dough, original polenta, and coat for fritters in France, especially in Corsica.
- Potato Substitute: Because of its texture and high starch content, chestnuts substitute potatoes and baked potatoes in Southeast Asia and Mediterranean nations.
- Thickener: Chestnut meal and pulp are popularly used as thickeners in sauces, stews, and soups in different parts of the world, especially Corsica.
- Stuffing/Filling: Chestnuts are often used as a stuffing for fowl, chicken, turnkey, and vegetables, as well as filling for ravioli.
Apart from these common ways of using chestnuts, it is also commonly used as an ingredient in many dishes worldwide. From pasta to chicken, from cake filling to risotto – chestnuts are used everywhere in the world in many different ways. For 6000 years, chestnuts have ruled cuisines around the world.
Delicious Ways of Using Chestnuts in Your Daily Cooking, Recipes
It has been established that chestnuts are absolutely delicious. They make a popular snack, but that’s not all. The exciting thing about them is that you do not have to be a world-class chef to make delicious sweet and savory dishes that highlight their flavor. Here are two amazing recipes for you!
#1 Chestnuts in a Savory – Chestnut, Mushroom, and Barley Risotto
Take your vegetarian cooking game to the next level – with a fabulous savory dish containing chestnuts! Check out this interesting, healthy risotto recipe that’s nothing like anything you have tasted before!
- Olive oil: 2 tbsp
- Onion (large): 1 piece (chopped)
- Garlic: 2 cloves (crushed)
- Roasted Chestnuts: 180 g (roughly chopped)
- Thyme: 2 sprigs
- Mushrooms (mixed): 250 g (sliced)
- Pearl barley: 300 g
- White wine: 150 ml
- Vegetable stock: 1 L
- Ricotta cheese: 4 tbsp + garnish
- Rocket leaves: 80 g
- Parsley: For garnishing
- Set a large frying pan on medium-high heat. Put oil into the pan.
- Once the oil is heated, add chopped onions to it and stir for around 10 min until they turn soft and golden.
- Next, add garlic, chestnuts, and thyme leaves. Keep sauteing for about a minute.
- Add the mushrooms and fry everything for about 3 min, until the chestnuts soften.
- Put the pearl barley into the pan and combine everything, cooking for about 2-3 min.
- Pour wine into the pan and let it cook. You’ll find the liquid bubbling away. Let it reduce by half.
- Add 1/3rd of the stock and stir.
- Bring the heat down and allow the grains to absorb all the liquid. Continue to add the rest of the stock in the same way, bit by bit. Allow the liquid to get absorbed before adding more each time.
- Add the rocket leaves and the ricotta and stir everything, cooking for around a minute.
- Divide the risotto into bowls and top it off with a little more risotto and fresh parsley.
Your risotto is ready! Dig in while it’s still hot and enjoy a nutty, creamy bowl of deliciousness.
#2 Chestnut Dessert: Mont Blanc
Anyone who loves Italian cooking and baking knows of Mont Blanc. It is a delicate dessert that’s going to take some effort. But you can certainly impress everyone with it. Check out our recipe!
- Egg white: 4 eggs (large)
- Salt: 1/8 tsp
- Cream of tartar: 1/8 tsp
- Sugar: 1 cup
- Vanilla extract: 3/4 tsp
Chestnut Puree –
- Chestnuts (fresh): 3 lb
- Vanilla beans: 1 piece
- Water: 3/4 cup
- Sugar: 1/3 cup
Whipped Cream –
- Heavy whipping cream: 1 ½ cups
- Sugar: 1-2 tbsp
- Vanilla extract: 1 tsp
- Egg white: 1 egg (large)
- Semisweet chocolate: 2 squares (grated)
- Powdered sugar: As needed
- Start by preheating the oven to 250 F.
- Take a baking sheet and line it with parchment paper. Then, using a pencil and a cookie-cutter, mark a 9-inch circle. Alternatively, you can draw 10 small circles of 3 ½ inches to serve individually.
- Take a large bowl and put the egg whites with salt in it. Beat till it’s foamy.
- Add cream of tartar and continue beating to form soft peaks.
- Add 2 tbsp of sugar and keep beating to form stiff, long peaks.
- Add sugar and vanilla extract and carefully fold everything into the beaten eggs to make the meringue mixture.
- Put the mixture in a pastry bag that has a half-inch plain tube. Pipe the meringue to fill the circle(s) on the parchment paper on the baking sheet.
- Bake for 1 hour, till the meringue turns firm when you touch it. If you notice that the meringue has started to brown while baking it, reduce the heat.
- Once done, transfer the meringue to a cooling rack and let them rest.
Chestnut Puree –
- Preheat your oven to 375 F.
- Peel off the hard outer covering of the chestnuts and score them with a sharp knife. Place them in a shallow ovenproof dish.
- Bake for 10-15 min until the skin starts to dry and peels off on its own.
- Let them rest for 5 min. Then, rub the skin in a hand towel to remove the skin while they are warm.
- Put the skinned chestnuts in a saucepan and put enough water in it to cover the nuts. Add the vanilla bean.
- Bring everything to a boil over a high flame. Reduce heat and put the lid on.
- Let everything simmer for 25-30 min, allowing the chestnuts to become very tender. At this point, remove the vanilla bean.
- In another small saucepan, boil 3/4 cup of water with 1/3 cup of sugar until a thin syrup is formed. Set the syrup aside and let it cool.
- Drain the chestnuts properly and add them to the food processor. Turn it into a smooth puree.
- Once the syrup cools down, add 1/4th of a cup of it at a time to the chestnut puree and make it thin enough to be piped but thick enough to hold a vermicelli-like shape.
- Take a piping bag and fit it with a plain tube of 1/8 inches. Fill it with the puree.
Whipped Cream –
- Take a medium bowl and add cold cream, sugar, and vanilla extract. Beat till it becomes stiff.
- In a small bowl, beat egg whites to form stiff peaks. Fold it into the whipped cream.
- Take a piping bag and fit it with a star tip. Put the cream and egg mixture into this bag.
- Place the cooked meringue circle(s) on a plate. Using the piping bag, form a nest-like structure, piping the chestnut puree in circles of vermicelli along the edge of the meringue.
- Pipe the cream mix into the center within the chestnut puree nest, forming a mountain.
- Sprinkle chocolate shaving on top of the whipped cream. Refrigerate and chill.
- Once chilled, take the dessert out of the refrigerator and dust some powdered sugar to create a snow-capped peak.
Your dessert is ready to be served and devoured! It’s a classic favorite with chestnuts as the key flavor.
Final Lines on How to Cook Chestnuts in the Microwave
Chestnuts are a delicious snack that people worldwide love to devour, especially in autumn and winter. But before you can snack on chestnuts, it’s best to cook them so that you can enjoy the slightly sweet, nutty taste with no bitterness. You can cook chestnuts easily in the microwave within 5 minutes.
All you have to do is to score the chestnuts and pop them into the microwave! But what will you do if you do not have a microwave oven? You can still cook chestnuts in a traditional oven, on the stove, or using an air fryer. Besides snacking on chestnuts, don’t forget to use them in savories and desserts.
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