Considered to be a nut and fruit, the chestnut is a shiny brown nut with a thick spiky burr. There are different chestnut species and they grow in Asia, Europe, and the Americas.
The chestnut has many uses. Because of its durability, the chestnut tree is good lumber material for furniture. And, of course, its more popular as food. It is very popular in the culinary world because it contains low fat, minimal cholesterol, and vitamin C, among other beneficial nutrients. Moreover, chestnuts are easy to consume and can be prepared in various ways, even eaten raw.
Chestnuts as food are pretty symbolic culturally. Christmas would never be the same without chestnuts, and the same goes with Thanksgiving, too. In Japan, chestnuts are a symbol of wealth and prosperity in the coming year. Below, know in detail the benefits of the beloved chestnut.
More Reasons to Love and Eat Chestnuts
Contribution to Health
Chestnuts are known for their health benefits. Here are some known benefits that they serve.
- Prevents Diabetes. Fiber can play a significant role in prevention, regulation, and management of diabetes. And chestnuts, known as a food with high dietary fiber, are considered as low-glycemic foods that cause blood sugar to rise slowly. This helps to regulate the spikes and drops of blood sugar, which is beneficial for diabetic patients.
- Enhance Brain Function. Chestnuts may help boost brain function. They are rich in Folate or Folic Acid, Thiamin, and Riboflavin, which are good for the proper development of the neurological function. Also, the potassium found in chestnuts increase blood flow to the brain and promotes good blood system health. This increase concentration, retention, and memory.
- Managing Blood Pressure. As chestnuts have good Potassium content, it helps the body control its water movement in the body. It also increases blood flow and releasing the tension on constricted blood vessels of the arteries. Thus, the reduction of blood pressure can boost total cardiovascular health while lessening the risk of heart attack and strokes.
- Good for the Heart. There’s an idea that fats are a bad thing for the heart. But in fact, our body needs some fats to function normally. These are good fats that are high in concentrations found in chestnuts that helps in balancing cholesterol, reduce inflammation in the body, and reduce the risk of blood clots building up inside the arteries. As a result, it lowers the risk of stroke and heart attack.
Acts as a Good Supplement
Dieters can benefit from the consumption of chestnuts as it provides specific contents that can fit well with their eating programs. Here are some of the supplementary content it offers.
- Vitamin C. Chestnuts have a lot of Vitamin C content and comparing it with other nuts it has more. 100 grams of raw chestnuts contains 40 milligrams of Vitamin C, but ones they are heated the Vitamin C drops by 40 percent. The reason for it is Vitamin C is destroyed by heat.
- Low-Fat. Chestnuts contain 200 calories per 100 gram. Compared with other nuts which have 500 to 600 grams of calories per 100 grams. The main reason for this is the content of chestnut having more carbohydrates and fiber as compared with other nuts. Roasted chestnuts are a good alternative to wheat flour and can be used in gluten-free baking.
Easy to Prepare and Serve
Chestnuts are hard seeds that are inside the spiny thick cover burr. In order to get the nut, it must be softened first to make it easier to peel the skin layer. Here are the steps in preparing chestnuts.
- Getting the nuts out of the spiny thick cover. One way to do this is to use the foot by rolling it over underneath the foot so that it would pop out. Or if in the wild, look for already opened chestnut burr for faster extraction.
- Cut a slit in each chestnut. Cutting a slit in every chestnut allows moisture to enter inside which leads to the next process of soaking it in water.
- Soak in water. This is to peel the brown layer of the nut easily. Putting them in water and boiling them for about 20 to 30 minutes would soften their shell.
- Removing with Shell with hands. Taking off their brown shell with the use of hands while it’s hot will bring out the nutty part. Make sure that the nut is still warm for it to be easier to peel if it becomes cold the skin will attach itself again with the nut meat and needs to reheat again.
Adding chestnuts to make food flavorful
Before adding chestnuts to any menu or meal, it must be cooked first by removing the skin through boiling or roasting. Ones they are cooked and the skin is removed it is now ready to be added to any preferred recipe.
- Desserts: Chestnuts are good with desserts. Combining it with chocolate adds that nutty taste that makes the palate loves to chew. Other desserts could be the Korean Yaksik prepared with chestnuts, the Japanese Kuri Manju using chestnuts, and the Turkish Chocolate covered with chestnuts.
- Chestnut Flour: using the chestnut and processing them to become a flour is a good ingredient in making a gluten-free recipe like Castagnaccio Pugliese, Chocolate and chestnut fondant.
Continuing Tradition and a Perfect Treat
Chestnut is a part of everything. A culture, belief, and tradition. It has been passed from generation to generation the practice of cultivating chestnut trees, to the production process of chestnuts, until cooking it for festivities. It is used as a special gift to people may it be an ingredient of the food or the chestnut itself. In Japan, it uplifts the spirit as it gives the meaning of encouragement of overcoming difficulties, success, and strength.
Chestnuts are good for the health, taste, and to tradition. Compared with other nuts it has great advantages, good to eat as a snack, and be used as the main ingredient. There’s no other way to put it but chestnut.