This week I've spent quite a bit of time in the forest forging and managed to gather an enormous bag of chestnuts. I've been perusing The River Cottage Handbook on Preserves quite a lot lately (I've recently made spicy crab apple jelly from it and also beetroot relish) and spotted a recipe to make chestnut jam. Last year, I made creme de maron (vanilla and chocolate flavours)...but it doesn't keep well, so it was quite exciting to see a way to keep chestnut to enjoy off-season throughout the year. So my plan is to make a batch of the jam.
Now the last time I did anything with chestnuts, it was a real faff. Scoring, boiling and then roasting the chestnuts and then double peeling them when they are still hot...ouch, my fingers did hurt. It's worth it, but you do need to dedicate a decent amount of time to it. So this year, I thought I'd have a search online and see if there were any hints or tips for best ways of shelling them. I found a few articles which said you need to score half way around their middles (the round part of the chestnut)...and then roast them and they should open up like a clam.
I gave it a go this morning and about half did actually pop out like a clam...I think I have some fine-tuning to do, as I think I might need to boil them for a few minutes before they go in the oven as I think the ones that didn't pop open might be due to them being too dry. So a few test runs are needed, but I'm quite please with the initial results. I'm having to roast in batches anyway...so it does give me a chance do some testing of the best method.
I'm hoping I get to make the jam today and then, I might make some creme de maron and try glacing some of them...