Chestnuts: Not just for Christmas

As soon as the clock strikes twelve on new years eve the race to develop new lines for the next Christmas period begins. Food manufacturers and the retail industry start the hunt for new ingredients and food creations to fill the shelves. For the average consumer, the idea of talking about anything festive before October is unheard of. Those in the food and beverage world know that Christmas preparation lasts all year round.

A traditionally festive ingredient is the chestnut. Commonly used in Christmas stuffing or mixed with brussel sprouts, the Chestnut has been a staple of the English Christmas menu for over two hundred years.  As we talk to our customers about chestnut supplies, it has led us to thinking more about why these delicious treats aren’t an all year-round thing.

Are Chestnuts a Nut?

There are various types of nut. Nuts such as hazelnuts, acorns and chestnuts are in fact a fruit and don’t generally carry the same allergen properties* of a tree nut. Tree nuts are seeds of drupes and include almonds, cashews and brazil nuts.

Botanically part of the beech family, chestnuts originate from the northern hemisphere. Native to forests in Japan, China, North America and Europe. They are shiny and brown in colour, with long, sharp spikes, also known as burrs. While similar in appearance, Horse Chestnuts are not edible by humans and they should not be confused.

Chestnuts are versatile, full of flavour and a great staple for your store cupboard.

When is chestnut season?

Traditionally chestnuts are eaten in the lead up to Christmas. They are in season in late autumn/ early winter. Lucky for us, they can easily be prepped and stored to last all year round.

To test if a chestnut is ripe, simply give it a squeeze, if there is a slight ‘give’ then the chestnut is ready to harvest. As soon as the nut comes off the tree, they start to shrivel, so it’s best to harvest them as soon as possible.

Are chestnuts good for you?

In comparison to other nuts, chestnuts are lower in fat and protein, but higher in carbohydrates. Full of potassium, iron, zinc and fibre, these tasty little treats are a great addition to a healthy diet.

If you are looking to up your vitamin intake, chestnuts are full of vitamin C, meaning they are great for helping keep your skin, bones and blood cells nice and healthy.

They are gluten free and have a natural sweetness making them ideal use in deserts as a diary replacement.

Kitchen skills and cooking chestnuts

In Europe and in Asian countries, chestnuts are part of the weekly diet. Providing a tasty addition to stews, pasta and puddings. Over the last two years we have seem more restaurants start to use chestnuts as an ingredient in plant-based creations such as risottos and soups. Their natural sweetness make chestnuts an ideal component in deserts whether as an ice cream or in pureed formed mixed with alcohol such as rum or kirsh.

We provide many manufacturers and retailers with chestnuts in various forms, to help with preparation.

Whole and broken chestnuts

Our whole chestnuts come roasted, peeled, blanched and vacuum packed. They are ready to be enjoyed as a snack or mixed in with your favourite recipes.

Whole and broken chestnuts can be chopped and added to a salad or stirred into a warm risotto! The great thing about this store cupboard essential is that they have a long shelf life.

Dried kibbled chestnuts

Primarily created for our manufacturing customers, our dried kibbled chestnuts are dried chestnut pieces ideal for dry mixes such as soups and stuffing.

Known to be popular during Christmas dinner, there is no reason why we can’t carry on using this aromatic stuffing all year round!

Chestnut puree

Our chestnut puree consists of roasted chestnuts which have been blended ready to be used in soups, sauces, but are the ideal application for dairy replacement in desserts.

Great in sweet and savoury dishes, the versatility of our chestnut puree is every chef’s dream.

Candied Chestnuts

Commonly known as Marron Glaces, our candied chestnuts are ‘melt in your mouth’, sweet bites of utter delight!

They come in jars and are ready for a hit of sweetness. Perfect to help sweeten up your day.

Gluten free and a healthy indulgence

There are many recipes that can include chestnuts. They are gluten free and vegan, so perfect for plant based and vegan recipes.

Their textural versatility can provide creaminess to dairy-free recipes and they can work well in gluten free baking. Naturally sweet, yet warming and rich.

Keep an eye out for upcoming chestnut recipes for you to try for yourself! Feel free to share your achievements on social media.

If you have any questions on our product range, or if you would like to become a customer, please get in touch with the team on info@brusco.co.uk or 01386 761 555.

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