Chestnuts are a superfood – tasty and healthy

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Native, healthy and irresistibly tasty: chestnuts rank top of the list of nutritious snacks.

Why are chestnuts so healthy?

Almost no-one can resist the smell of roasted chestnuts and the good news is: you’re advised to dig in. “Chestnuts are tasty, healthy and regional,” says nutritionist Ewa Heimerdinger. They are low on fat, high on protein and contain many complex carbohydrates that keep you feeling full for longer – making them the ideal snack for an energy boost in between meals.

Healthy substances

  • Vitamin C that is important for the immune system.
  • vitamin C, which strengthens the immune system.
  • Minerals such as potassium and magnesium, both of which aid metabolism.

Other advantages of chestnuts

Chestnuts contain relatively few calories (171 kcal per 100 g) and don’t lie heavily on the stomach. That’s because their high starch content makes them easily digestible. They're also rich in fibre, which improves intestinal activity. The nutritional goodness is also well preserved because chestnuts are often only minimally processed. And as if that weren't enough: chestnuts are also said to make you happy. Their amino acid, tryptophane, helps the body to produce serotonin, the "happiness hormone". The effect is similar to that of chocolate.

Seasonal & regional

Autumn and winter wouldn’t be the same without chestnuts. They belong to the family of sweet chestnuts of which there are several hundred varieties. The surprising thing is that sweet chestnut trees thrive not only in the south of Switzerland. Thanks to a mild climate and favourable geology, the largest area of sweet chestnut trees north of the Alps is found by the Walensee lake in the canton of St. Gallen: Pro Kastanie Murg.

Buy fresh and store correctly

Although chestnuts were once an important staple for the poor, the “bread from the trees” gradually began to wane in significance. However, now that consumers and producers are taking a renewed interest in old and native products, chestnuts are experiencing a comeback and are seen as a delicacy.

Buying chestnuts: the skin must be shiny and smooth

When buying chestnuts in the shop or at a market, you can recognise good quality by a shiny and smooth skin. If the skin is dull, the fruit is old and dry. There should also be no sign of any worm holes in the skin.

Store correctly to keep longer

Fresh chestnuts keep at room temperature for a week; in a plastic bag in the refrigerator for a month. You can also freeze chestnuts unpeeled. They should be used within 6 months.

Tasty alternative for coeliacs

Chestnuts can be used as an ingredient in a wide range of foods: polenta and purée, honey and jam. There's also chestnut beer and chestnut coffee. And sufferers of coeliac disease can try chestnut flour. It is gluten-free and can be used for all kinds of baking products – bread, brownies, and the trendy chestnut cake.

Cooking chestnuts

Chestnuts are loved by all when roasted in their skins. Most people get them from the chestnut stand – but you can also do it yourself at home:

  • Im Kombisteamer: Marroni einschneiden, ca. 20 Minuten bei 200 Grad Heissluft mit Dampf backen.
  • Im Backofen: 30 Minuten im Wasser einlegen, einschneiden und ca. 15-20 Minuten im 200 Grad warmen Ofen (Oben- und Unterhitze) backen.
  • Kugelgrill: 30 Minuten im Wasser einlegen, auf gelochtes Pizzablech, 10-15 Minuten bei ca. 200 Grad backen.
  • Combi steamer: make a deep cut on the round side of each chestnut and cook for around 20 minutes at 200 degrees using hot air plus steam.
  • Oven: soak in water for 30 minutes, make a deep cut on the round side of each chestnut and roast for around 15-20 minutes at 200 degrees (top and bottom heat).
  • Kettle grill: soak in water for 30 minutes, arrange on a pizza pan with holes, roast for 10-15 minutes at around 200 degrees.

Make Swiss ‘Vermicelles’ yourself

Do you prefer to eat chestnuts as a dessert? Shop-bought ‘Vermicelles’ is often over-sweetened and makes you instantly full. An alternative is to make your own – which is really easy: bring a little milk to the boil, add peeled and cooked chestnuts and a pinch of sugar, and blend with a mixer into a smooth consistency. Leave to cool, and flavour with Cognac or schnapps if desired. Pass the mixture through a ‘Vermicelles’ press.

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