Just in time for the holidays, these fresh chestnuts are delicious in any number of dishes. If roasting, score the outside of the shell to account for expansion of the fruit when cooking. Their sweet, earthy and rich flavor pairs well with sweet or savory dishes. They can even be eaten raw.
These are from 150 year old trees planted by Italian immigrants in Santa Cruz. They are not nuts, but rather nutrient-dense, starchy little fruits. They fall from the tree looking shiny, but actually reduce in tannins and improve in flavor--as well as ease-of-peeling--as they cure and their skin turns a bit duller. You don't want to wait too long to incorporate them into a recipe, as a completely dried chestnut will harden and be more labor intensive to work with. However, they can be boiled and beautifully revived at any stage. Italians wrap them in a hot, wine-soaked towel after cooking to keep them moist!
Disclaimer: We do our very best to select chestnuts that will taste delicious, but there is an element of mystery to them, as we cannot open them. Often the ugly ones are delicious, and on occasion, a cosmetically perfect chestnut is not good on the inside.
Sheepie Dreams Organics is a small scale family run homestead farm located in the Italian Gardens of Santa Cruz. Over 100 years ago original settlers planted this lush river valley with chestnuts, persimmons, avocados, apples, pears, walnuts and lemons. To maintain the health of these orchards we have implemented rotational pasture management of free range chickens and pastured sheep. Stewardship of the land is a joyful opportunity for our family and we would like to share the bounty of these traditions with you. Enjoy! Book a visit.Read more