Choose 5 or 30 lbs.
Dried chestnuts are an easy to use out-of-season alternative to canned, frozen or candied chestnuts. Their flavor tends to be a little sweeter and less floury than fresh chestnuts, but once reconstituted they can be used as you would peeled fresh chestnuts.
Unlike most nuts, which store their energy in the form of oil, the energy in chestnuts is stored as starch. As a result, their texture is softer (when fresh) and flourier than other nuts, while their flavor is more sweet & starchy than nutty.
In addition to their very high starch content (twice as much as potatoes), chestnuts are quite low in fat and supply good quantities of potassium and vitamins B & C.
Although chestnuts were an important food to some of America's native peoples, the American variety of chestnut was almost completely wiped out by widespread blight in the early 20th century. As a result, almost all chestnuts consumed in the US today are imported, which may be why they aren't as popular an ingredient over here as they are in Europe.
Chestnuts historically played an important role in both Italian and French cooking (in some areas they were a staple food) prior to the introduction of New World crops. Today they're enjoyed in both sweet and savory dishes in Europe and Asia.
One pound of dried chestnuts is roughly equivalent to two pounds of fresh chestnuts once rehydrated.
Store dried chestnut in an air-tight container in a cool, dry place.
RECIPES & TIPS
Dried chestnuts can be used as a substitute for fresh peeled chestnuts once they have been reconstituted (one pound dried will be roughly equivalent to two pounds fresh once rehydrated).
Once reconstituted, these nuts can be braised, grilled, roasted, or simmered in water or milk until tender (and used whole, in pieces or pureed).
Chestnuts are used in desserts (cake fillings, frosting, ice cream, pies, etc), soups, pancakes, risottos, vegetable side dishes, poultry stuffings (often pureed) and other recipes. Try pairing them with ingredients like apples, pears, honey, game meats, dark chocolate, coffee, hazelnuts, Brussels sprouts, cranberries, porcini mushrooms, vanilla, dried fruits, lemon, fennel or cream.
Reconstituting Dried Chestnuts:
To rehydrate dried chestnuts, simmer them in water for 30 minutes. Drain off the water and use the nuts as called for in your recipe (often as a substitute for peeled fresh chestnuts).