Whether you grew up eating these smoky treats or you became inspired by them while shopping at Lotte Plaza Market, you are in for a treat! You can make dishes like chestnut stuffing or eat them roasted over your grill. There are many ways to enjoy your Korean chestnuts. Don’t be put off by their hard exterior shell. Let’s talk about how to store, shell, and peel your Korean chestnuts for the spring and summer months.
American versus Korean Chestnuts
While American chestnuts range in size from a half inch to one inch in diameter, Korean or Asian chestnuts are slightly bigger at one to one and a quarter inches in diameter. The Korean variety are not as sweet as American nuts but instead have a neutral, smoky flavor that makes them versatile in many dishes. Chestnuts can be found from October through March, hitting its peak in December.
Buying and Storing Chestnuts
When selecting your pound of Korean chestnuts from Lotte Plaza Market, look for shiny, heavy-feeling nuts. When you get them home, store them in a cool and dry place. It is important to use your nuts while they still feel full and heavy because they still have the moisture in them. The longer these nuts sit, the more moisture leaves them. If you want to keep your nuts from spoiling, crack them open and store in an air-tight container in the freezer. Move them to the refrigerator before you use them to thaw. They can last up to 12 months in the freezer.
Shelling and Peeling Your Korean Chestnuts
To shell and peel your Korean chestnuts, you will need to use a sharp paring knife, an oven or toaster oven, and a dishtowel. Place your nuts onto the dish towel and using your paring knife, cut a cross on the flat side of the nut. As you cut your nuts, reheat your oven or toaster oven to 400 degrees Fahrenheit. Place a dozen or so nuts, cut side up, onto a shallow pan or directly on the rack. Bake them until they feel hot and the cut part of the shells are open and curled. This process should take about five minutes in the toaster oven or 10 to 15 minutes in the oven. Once they are done, put the nuts onto a dishtowel. Wrap them up and gently squeeze down on your nuts until the shells crack. Working on one at a time, remove the smooth outer shell, then peel, scrape, and cut the papery inner brown skin away from the nuts. Use the knife tip to pry the skin bits out of the crevices. As you work, keep the unpeeled nuts in a dishtowel to stay warm and pliable. It is better to do this in batches so they stay warm. Shell and peel your chestnuts up to three days in advance and store them in the refrigerator or freeze them once they are cooled to room temperature.
Welcome to Lotte Plaza Market
Lotte Plaza Market is your one stop shop for all of your Asian groceries. With more than 10 locations in Maryland and Virginia, this growing market is always expanding and opening new markets to better serve our customers. Opened since 1976, our goal has always been to provide the best customer service and groceries to our customers. For answers to all of your questions, email us at LottePlaza.com.