Chestnut: benefits of autumn fruit

We wait for each other all year long, anxious for autumn to arrive to enjoy the fruit of the chestnut tree. The chestnut is a fruit that we know, since we usually have it in the kitchen of our house when the season arrives. Discover all the benefits it provides to our health.

What is chestnut?

The chestnut is the fruit of the chestnut (Castanea sativa).  It is within neutral fruits , although its flavor may seem somewhat sweet. It has a rounded shape, although it is flat on one side.

Its rind, which is quite hard, is bright brown in color and its interior consists of a yellowish white pulp.

Origin of the chestnut

Several historical records place the origin of the chestnut in regions of the East. It is true that currently there are archaeological sites in Spain and other areas of southern Europe where fossils of this fruit have been found with more than three million years.

For this reason, the chestnut fruit is considered one of the oldest known foods , since it was consumed in prehistoric times and that, in addition, we continue to consume today.

The Roman Empire was in charge of extending the use of this food throughout its regions, which contributed to its expansion.

Before the arrival of corn and potatoes from America, the chestnut played a crucial role in times of famine .

In Spain, currently, its cultivation is centered in the Cantabrian and Galician regions where it is consumed regularly in different traditional recipes.

How do you eat chestnuts?

These foods are eaten sporadically and almost always cooked, but there are other ways to consume these delicious fruits.

Roasted chestnuts

This neutral fruit is usually eaten roasted , since it is the most common way to consume it. It can be roasted in the oven or on the grill, in the kitchen of our house.

We need a furnace or a perforated satin for the fire.   Following the advice of the chestnut trees and before roasting it, it is important to cut it so that it is well done on the inside.

The most common and recommended way is the traditional way of roasting this fruit, which is by means of a perforated satin that penetrates both the heat and the direct fire that perform the dry cooking.

It could also be done in a traditional electric or gas oven. With this method we will gain homogeneity, but with less flavor than in the traditional way.

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Raw chestnuts

They could be eaten curdas, but only when they are well ripe , otherwise they are too hard and are very difficult to chew and digest.

Boiled chestnuts

It is not usual to cook these foods, but they could be eaten boiled in the same way as roasted. Following our advice, it is better to make a cut so that they are done well on the inside. Also, spices such as cinnamon or vanilla can be added to give it a different flavor.

In addition, there are other ways to consume these fruits:

They are used to make different recipes, as a garnish for different types of meat and poultry, purees. It is also used to make broths and even some recipes for stews with legumes, vegetables or mushrooms, especially in areas where it is very cold in winter.

You can also make sweet recipes with this ingredient and they are really delicious. The chestnut brownie is a sweet recipe reminiscent of autumn thanks to its combination of flavors.

It is an ideal ingredient to have in our kitchens in autumn.

What is chestnut pilonga?

The pilongas chestnuts are nothing more than the chestnut dehydrated through a natural process of heat and smoke so that they could be preserved for a longer time.

The process is very simple, it is allowed to dry for a little more than a week and once dry, they are placed on the embers of the fire and with the heat and smoke they dry, losing a large amount of water and achieving a natural dehydration process.

In addition, with this process it is very easy to remove the skin and can be stored without fear of deterioration. They also retain many of their nutritional properties.

How to preserve chestnuts

Buying this good quality food is very easy. The best quality chestnuts are very easy to check, we just have to allow ourselves to be carried away by common sense. The best quality are those that do not have stains, cuts or deformations and a uniform and bright color is observed. They exist of several sizes according to the variety.

The best way to keep them is in a cool place without humidity. The ideal container is made of wicker or another basket that has breathing to avoid humidity.

Can chestnuts be frozen?

These foods are recommended to be stored in the refrigerator for conservation and their duration could be extended up to four more weeks. It is also possible to freeze chestnuts with their bark as protection and their conservation can last more than 24 weeks.

Once peeled or roasted, chestnuts can also be kept in the fridge or freezer, but their shelf life is reduced.

Chestnut season

It is an autumn fruit and its collection season for consumption begins in October and lasts until December. It is only three months long to buy this fresh food, so take advantage of this delicious chestnut delicacy.

You can check the calendar of the fruit season to be able to consume these foods at their most optimal moment. In addition, when they are in season they provide us with more benefits for our health, they have a better aroma and are tastier , among other advantages.

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Chestnut properties

The chestnut has very beneficial nutritional properties for our health.  It is recommended for the whole family, children and adults.

It is rich in carbohydrates, something that we do not usually find in other nuts. In addition, it is rich in fiber and starch.

It is a food rich in water that, when eaten roasted, which is the most common way, loses a lot of hydration.

It is low in protein and fat. It also provides us with vitamins and minerals such as potassium, iron, phosphorus, copper and vitamins A and C. It is worth noting the contribution of manganese as well as peanuts .

It should be noted that the healthiest way to eat it is raw and fresh, since it provides us with all its nutrients, something that is lost when cooking it from any of its recipes.

Diabetics should consult their dietitian or health professional, as these fruits are rich in carbohydrates.

Nutritional properties of raw and roasted chestnut per 100 grams:

Raw chestnutroasted chestnut
Calories 185 kcal 235 kcal
Protein2,65 g4 g
Carbohydrates36,5 g39,5 g
Fiber6,7 g7 g
Cholesterol0 g0 g
Potassium500 mg592 mg
Water52 g43 g

Chestnut benefits

The benefits that the chestnut brings to our health are different.

Energetic food

It is a food that gives us energy continuously , which makes it especially recommended for children and athletes who need a supply of natural and healthy energy.

It is also recommended for people with anemia problems or lactating women.

Recommended for weight loss diets

Chestnuts are recommended for weight loss diets , since this food is low in fat and calories and rich in fiber and water. In addition, what we can eat between meals has a satiating effect.

Natural antioxidant

Chestnuts are natural antioxidants due to their content of vitamin C, A and E.

Helps against constipation

Thanks to the fact that it is a fruit rich in fiber, current as a natural intestinal collector that helps us to solve the problems of constipation.

Chestnuts are very beneficial for our health. In addition to being delicious, it is a tradition that, in autumn, when the cold begins, there is no shortage of roasted chestnuts in our diet.

Ellie Lauderdale

My name is Ellie Lauderdale, MD and I am USA based professional Nutritionist .

I am a Registered Dietitian Nutritionist and board certified specialist in sports dietetics who is trained in integrative medicine. I have worked with hundreds of clients, from those suffering with chronic disease to professional and olympian athletes. My goal is to help optimize you from the inside so that you can feel, perform, and look your best on the outside.

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