Who hasn’t tried chestnuts? You probably remember how, when you were a child, you used to walk around the countryside with your parents, grandparents or friends in search of these delicious nuts at a time when the weather was changing, temperatures were dropping and the cold was coming.
This is possibly one of the most characteristic prints of autumn: finding whole families, with small children, armed with sticks and a good pair of boots to try to get the chestnuts out of their spiny capsule.
And what about roasted chestnuts? This is also a typical autumn dish, and just as characteristic on the coldest afternoons of this time of year.
Be that as it may, as you are sure to know, there is no doubt that chestnuts are a healthy food with important nutritional benefits that we can find in autumn.
In fact, we could almost say that this is the most characteristic food of autumn, a time when it is common to eat them roasted to mitigate the cold that is usual during this beautiful time of year.
In fact, as we will see throughout this note, it is a nut that is tremendously rich in nutrients, providing above all carbohydrates and fibre, as well as vitamins of the B group, ideal for reducing the symptoms typical of autumn, when it is common to feel apathetic or melancholic.
Chestnuts are one of the quintessential fruits of autumn, a moment and time of change, of inner recollection, and a time when we can begin to enjoy the cold, the rain, and all that this season of the year represents.
What are chestnuts?
The chestnut is the fruit of the chestnut tree, a tree known scientifically as Castanea sativa, which belongs to the fagaceae family and is native to temperate climates typical of the northern hemisphere.
It usually measures between 5 and 11 centimeters in diameter, and is made up of a characteristic, very spiny capsule, known as a pouch.
But what are its most important properties?
The benefits and properties of chestnuts
From a nutritional point of view, they stand out for their very high carbohydrate content, making them an excellent source of energy. However, its caloric contribution is actually low, as 100 grams of chestnuts provide only 190 kilocalories. On the other hand, its contribution in vitamins of the group B, C, E and A, fiber and minerals like magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus also stands out.
In fact, due to their high carbohydrate content, chestnuts are known for their great energy power. This is why they tend to be especially recommended for students, and when we want to have an extra supply of energy.
As we can see, it is no coincidence that they are a seasonal food typical of autumn, a season when temperatures tend to be lower, and when we need a little more calories.
Is it true that chestnuts are fattening?
Although 100 grams carry approximately 190 calories, it is characterized by being the nut that contains less fat, since for every 100 grams it provides only 2 grams of fat. For this reason, chestnuts do not tend to have a negative impact on weight gain. However, when they are consumed in moderation, but on a regular basis, in order to enjoy many of the properties they provide.
Moreover, their qualities make them an interesting food for diets, since they provide satiety to our organism thanks to their very high fibre content, so they tend to diminish our sensation of hunger, helping us to “eat less”.
Did you know that they also provide good amounts of omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids? This is actually a lesser-known quality but very important in that it helps to take care of our cardiovascular system, being ideal when it comes to reducing high cholesterol and high triglycerides (two conditions, by the way, so related to excess weight).
They are definitely a healthy food. Although it is true that consumed in excess can be counterproductive, not only because of their caloric contribution, but also because they can be indigestible.
However, do you know what the caloric content of chestnuts is? We’ll tell you later:
100 grams provide 165 kilocalories, and only 2.5 grams of fat.
100 grams roasted provide 237 kilocalories, and 2.8 grams of fat.
They are a good source of minerals, among which we highlight magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus, and according to some studies they are attributed with both anti-inflammatory and vascular properties.
Although they are also known because they can become heavy in digestion, if we chew them well and do not eat them in excess, this issue would be solved.
However, in spite of this, if we consume them boiled their “heavy” effect disappears, and they become an excellent natural remedy for people with delicate or irritated stomach, being interesting in case of diarrhea, gastritis and stomach ulcers.
Therefore, for those who have a delicate stomach, we recommend that they be eaten cooked or roasted, rather than raw.
High in carbohydrates, proteins and fibre.
Low caloric content (around 190 Kcalories/100 gr.).
High content of minerals: magnesium, potassium, iron and phosphorus
Reconstituent and anti-inflammatory vascular properties.
Now it’s time to enjoy them:
As much as we like it, it is a food that is only available for a few months. That’s partly good, because it becomes typical of that part of the year and gives them a special charm.
When is the chestnut season?
We only have to look at the seasonal food calendar to realize that we are dealing with a typical autumn food.
Autumn is a good time to enjoy them, especially because you can go to the countryside in the company of your family, partner or friends, arm yourself with a bag and a wooden stick and spend an unforgettable day looking for chestnuts on the most beautiful days of this beautiful time of year.
In fact, we can find them both in the countryside and on the market from September, until approximately the end of December (that is, between the months that the autumn lasts: September, October, November and December).
Not in vain, during the autumn it is common to find in many streets of our country different street stalls where they serve roasted chestnuts, which we can enjoy warm while we walk on a cold and rainy afternoon. It’s almost magical, don’t you think?
How do you peel them?
There is no doubt that before we can enjoy all the qualities that chestnuts offer us, it is very important to know how to peel them well. In fact, it is very simple, since only one scalding process is required; that is, scalding the chestnuts to be able to peel them easily.
Just make a small incision in each chestnut, put water in a large pot, and when the water starts to boil add the chestnuts. And then cut off the cooking using a little cold water.
And how can we roast them?
On the other hand, a deliciously autumnal option when it comes to enjoying them is roasting them. It’s as simple as using an old frying pan, making a small incision in each chestnut and putting them on the fire, leaving them to cook until they are well roasted (until their outer part darkens). Then we will only have to remove them from the fire, and with care not to burn ourselves, peel them.
This article is published for information purposes only. It cannot and should not substitute for consultation with a Nutritionist. We advise you to consult your trusted Nutritionist.