By: Leanne Ely
Tis the season for visions of candy canes and sugar plums and chestnuts roasting on an open fire. But how many of us have actually roasted chestnuts? Have you ever eaten a chestnut?
Many cultures enjoy chestnuts as a valued source of nutrition. Chestnuts have been harvested for centuries in Japan, China, Korea, Europe and the Mediterranean. Greeks put chestnuts above almonds, walnuts and hazelnuts in terms of quality. So, why don’t we eat more chestnuts here in North America?
Chestnuts can be roasted (but please use an oven-it’s safer than an open fire) or cooked in soups and stews.
So, what’s so great about chestnuts?
Fiber. There is more fiber in a serving of chestnuts (3 grams per 100 gram serving) than there is in a serving of walnuts, pecans or pistachios.
Fatty acids. Chestnuts are full of linoleic acid and other essential fatty acids like palmitic and oleic acid, which are great for heart health.
Nutrients. Chestnuts contain potassium, magnesium, copper and high levels of Vitamin C. They also have lots of amino acids and antioxidants.
Chestnuts aren’t only nutritious, but they also have a pleasant taste.
So, how do you eat chestnuts?
Well. First, you take your chestnuts and cut an X on the flat side with a very sharp paring knife.
When the nuts are all scored with their X, pop them on a baking sheet and roast for 15-20 minutes in a 425 degree oven. This will make the X open a bit and the skins will peel easily off of your chestnuts. At this point, you can use them in soups or side dishes, but if you want to actually roast the chestnuts, keep them in the oven for another 20 minutes.
Peel the chestnuts while they’re still warm. Once they cool, the skins are difficult to remove.
I like chestnuts sautéed with Brussels sprouts and bacon. Mmmm!
While they do contain lots of nutrients, chestnuts are pretty starchy. They’re actually used in many cultures more as a vegetable (think potato substitute), so use them sparingly.
Do you enjoy eating chestnuts?
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By: Leanne Ely
Not only are they gorgeous, but cranberries are full of nutrition: Vitamin C, Vitamin E, potassium, iron, magnesium and folate. They also contain antioxidants and phenols that can protect you against all kinds of things, including urinary tract infections.
Since it’s cranberry season, you should stock up on as many of these gorgeous (tart) red orbs as you can. Don’t forget that cranberries freeze beautifully, so buy them now when they’re nice and fresh, and store as many as you can for the winter!
You might not realize it, but there are all kinds of uses for cranberries outside of turkey!
Here are 8 surprising ways you can make use of cranberries:
•Toss 1/3 cup of cranberries to your next smoothie. This measurement will make sure the tartness of the berries won’t totally overpower the drink.
•Smash some cranberries in your cocktails to take down the sweetness a bit.
•Shake things up by adding a cup of cranberries to your next apple pie.
•Add a few cranberries to your breakfast in your oatmeal or yogurt.
•Make your cranberries savory, and roast them with some shallots and a couple cloves of garlic.
•Chop a handful of cranberries into your favorite spicy salsa.
•Boil your cranberries in water with a bit of added honey. This will give you a lovely reduction to serve over pancakes or waffles.
•Puree a cup of cranberries, and whisk them into a your favorite balsamic vinaigrette for a healthy, delicious and beautiful salad dressing.
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