Using a paring knife, cut a cross or X shape on the flat side of each chestnut. Boil nuts for 15 minutes or until tender, then drain. Peel the shells and inner skin off when the chestnuts are cool enough to handle safely but are still warm.
Boiling chestnuts produces a more mellow flavor than roasting them. Boiled chestnuts pair well with pork, carrots, cabbage, mushrooms and sage for a savory dish or with dried fruit, apples, chocolate and cream in a sweet dish. Roasting chestnuts brings out a concentrated flavor. This method is recommended if the nuts are to be eaten on their own or if they are the main flavor in a dish.
Chestnuts are a popular nut across the world. They are available in the late fall and winter, so they are often used in holiday dishes. These nuts are large and starchy in texture with a slightly sweet flavor. Chestnuts have a hard outer shell and an inner skin that must be removed before they can be eaten. This can be done by boiling or roasting them. Never eat chestnuts raw, as the flavor is very bitter.
Choose chestnuts that are firm and glossy. They should feel heavy for their size. Chestnuts that are cracked or that rattle when shaken have begun to dry out and should be avoided. Chestnuts can be stored in the refrigerator in a sealed plastic bag or they can be frozen for up to three months.