Chestnuts are attributed to medicinal properties, and because of their high energy value, are especially recommended for athletes and children. They help with kidney and digestive problems, chestnut tea works great in relieving the symptoms of asthma and bronchitis, and can be eaten in soups and salads.
Nothing resembles autumn like hot chestnuts warming frosty palms on a gloomy day. The aroma of chestnuts, whether roasted or cooked, always creates a sense of comfort and warmth. Chestnuts have been appearing and consumed since prehistoric times in the Mediterranean and Asia. They were initially bred in China, Japan, and then brought to Europe by the Roman legions. It is known that baked chestnuts were sold on the streets of Rome in the 16th century, so the intoxicating odor was already spreading through the streets of the city just as it still does today.
The chestnut fruit is reddish-brown in color and has a smooth surface. It grows inside a barbed shell that bursts in the fall when the fruit ripens. Chestnuts belong to the group of nuts, but they differ from their relatives (nuts, almonds and hazelnuts) with a lower fat content and high starch content and are the only ones containing vitamin C.
One hundred different types of chestnuts are known. They are generally divided into tame and wild. Tromes are edible, and a special treat among them are Lovran maruns, which are sweeter and larger than ordinary chestnuts. On the other hand, wild chestnut, which unfortunately is not eatable, has medicinal properties. It is most commonly cited as an aid to varicose veins and capillary damage, and its extracts are used for the preparation of medicinal preparations.
In nutritional composition, chestnuts are similar to brown rice, and are an excellent source of trace elements (minerals we need in very small amounts). Protein is not a strong side of them, but they are very rich in starch, and flour can be made from these fruits. Chestnut is the only nuts containing vitamin C and is an excellent source of vitamin B6. Chestnuts are also a good source of potassium and folic acid and dietary fiber essential for the proper functioning of the digestive system.
Chestnuts are foods that are slightly higher in energy, since 100 grams of roasted chestnuts contain about 245 kcal. Although chestnut fruit is very nutritious, it is quite difficult to digest. Interestingly, roasted chestnuts contain more vitamins and cooked with more mineral ingredients.
When buying chestnuts, it should be noted that the fruits are larger, shiny, with no holes in the shell, which is a sign that there are no unwanted larvae. When taken in hand, the mass must be sized and not have a hollow sound when shaken. Chestnuts should be stored in the cold for up to 2 weeks, and it is useful to check for holes in the individual fruits and then extract them.
Chestnuts as a remedy
The relatively high energy value due to the high starch content makes chestnuts an excellent choice for athletes, individuals exposed to physical exertion and children. Because they are high in potassium and low in sodium at the same time, chestnuts fit perfectly into the diet of people with cardiovascular and kidney diseases. Also, the dietary fiber contained in them can be helpful to anyone with an irregular stool. Chestnut tea is a well-known folk remedy for respiratory problems such as bronchitis and asthma, while chestnut bark and wood are used as astringents because of its richness in tannins.
Gastronomic application goes far beyond just enjoying cooked or baked chestnuts. The range of chestnut dishes is diverse and ranges from soups, over main courses to desserts and baked desserts. Chestnuts are often added to salads and pasta dishes. In many countries of the world, Christmas is unthinkable without turkey filling with chestnut stuffing. In addition to enjoying whipped cream, cooked chestnuts puree (because of its potato-like consistency) finds its use as a filling for various pastries. It is also used in the preparation of game sauces. Baked chestnuts can be dried and ground into flour, which gives a rich and delicious crust when preparing cakes and pies.