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When Did We Get The Taste For Roasting Chestnuts?

Posted: 13 Dec, 2019. No comments

When did we get the taste for Roasting Chestnuts?

December, is by turns wet, dark and extremely chilly. On some days it is all those things! No wonder we like to line up warming treats to keep the cold away.
Buying roasted chestnuts from a street vendor are a seasonal favourite. Vendors know the earthy, spicy scent is more than enough to get anyone into the Christmas spirit.
Out and about on Cyprus you may chance upon a charcoal brazier with chestnuts roasting. If you see or smell these taste bombs, grab the chance to sample a delicious treat.

Home Roasting Chestnuts

The practice of roasting chestnuts has been around for donkey’s years. My paternal grandparents would take us children into the woods to collect chestnuts.
At their house we would toast those chestnuts in front of an open fire. Such memories resonate loud and clear.
Since I started writing this piece I have formed a plan. I’m going to find some chestnuts to roast with our older grandchildren. It would be a pity not to continue the tradition.

When did we get the taste for Roasting Chestnuts?

Historians identify the 16th century as being when the nuts sold by street vendors became a commonplace.
Alexander the Great and the Romans planted chestnut trees across Europe while on their various campaigns. The Greek army is said to have survived their retreat from Asia Minor in 401-399 B.C. thanks to their stores of chestnuts.
Those wanting a quick and warming snack can enjoy the natural sweetness of the nuts. In parts of Italy roasted chestnuts have served instead potatoes.
It has long been a tradition in Portugal to eat them roasted on Saint Martin’s Day, and in Tuscany on Saint Simon’s Day.

Health benefits

Carefully roasted chestnuts reveal their natural sweetness. This makes them an ideal snack if you want something to stave off a sweet tooth. Surprisingly nutritious, chestnuts have many health benefits. They are comparatively low in calories and a good source of fibre. They are also very rich in vitamin C, which may come as a surprise to you. Although technically nuts, they taste very unlike other nuts – the sweet, earthy taste is worth a try if you’ve never had one.
Chestnuts are often roasted on a grill. This helps removal of their bitter, shiny skins. You can make them at home using a conventional kitchen oven. Cut a cross into each nut, put them on a roasting tin and bake them until the skins open. To eat, peel away the tough, shiny skin revealing the delicious interior.
How to use Roast Chestnuts
It’s so, so easy to make roast chestnuts, so why not roast up a batch for yourself on the 14th December? (Roast Chestnut Day)
Most supermarkets offer chestnuts during the festive season. A boon if you are time poor. Bought this way, you won’t have to go foraging for them in the woods!

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