When we think of chestnuts, images of holidays and chestnuts roasting come to mind (as well as that famous Christmas song we all know by heart.) But chestnuts are more than just a holiday food that should be eaten just once a year. Chestnuts are a delicious and nutritious nut with all sorts of culinary possibilities.
Chestnuts are lower in calories than other nuts because they are very low in fat, and contain more starch than the potato. They also have a healthy dose of Vitamin C and trace minerals. To get the most nutrition out of a chestnut it must be grown in nutrient-rich soil. Matiz Gallego Organic Chestnuts are rich in nutrients from the soil of the beautiful Galician region of Northwestern Spain where the mountains meet the sea and the ancient castaño or chestnut trees survive and thrive.
Chestnuts were introduced to Spain from Asia by the Romans in 450 BC, and chestnuts continue to remain a core part of Galician cuisine.
Most farmers in the region grow a variety of fruits and vegetables and depend on cooperative warehouses to sell their small but hearty chestnut crops. Planting chestnut trees is an act of faith in the future. It takes fifteen years for a tree to begin producing.
The family owned company of Naiciña was established in 1972 with the goal of supporting the rural local economy, which is rich in natural and human resources but has struggled economically in today’s modern world.
In Galicia, all chestnuts come from very small farms. Previously there were very few outlets for the chestnut tree owners to sell their product and the Galician chestnut trees were at risk from land developers. Yet saving the chestnut trees is extremely important for the region, which has historically had considerable problems with forest fires. The native chestnut tree is very dense wood and burns with difficulty, thus reducing the spread of forest fires.
Naiciña’s value added products give local farmers demand for these native chestnuts, and creates quality jobs that mitigate the immigration of community members to the large cities. The company purchases directly from the producers, guaranteeing a 10% higher price than the market price. All the chestnuts purchased by Naicina are organically grown and have the NOP (USDA) organic certification. Certification was a long process, overseen and coordinated by Naicina, since the chestnuts come from hundreds of small landholders.
- 2 packages (14 ounces) Matiz Organic Chestnuts
- 1/2 cup maple syrup
- 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon Fleur de Sel Sea Salt
Put all ingredients in a food processor and pulse until smooth, scraping the sides as needed. Store in the refrigerator for up to two weeks.
Makes about 2 cups; serves 4.
Candied chestnuts are great on their own as a power snack, or crumble and add these as a topping for coffee cake or ice cream.
- 1 package (7 ounces) Matiz Organic Chestnuts
- 1/4 cup Organic Honey
- 1/2 teaspoon vanilla extract
- 1/8 teaspoon cinnamon
Preheat oven to 350 degrees.
Pour the honey into a small bowl and microwave for 10-15 seconds to warm. Add vanilla and cinnamon and whisk to incorporate.
Place the chestnuts in another small bowl and pour the honey mixture over the top, stir once or twice with a spatula to coat them fully.
Place chestnuts on a cookie sheet and bake for 10-15 minutes.
Makes about 1 cup.
Cream of Cauliflower Chestnut Soup
In a large stock pot, heat the olive oil to medium high heat, then add onions and garlic, stirring until translucent and the onions begin to brown.
Add chestnuts, cumin, aji paste, herbs, cauliflower and potatoes to pot, stir and sauté for another 10 minutes.
Add the broth and then bring to a boil, cover the pot with a lid and reduce hit to low. Let simmer until vegetables are very tender – about another 30 minutes.
Use an immersion blender to puree the soup, or ladle soup into blender and process in batches. Add a bit of water or more broth to thin to desired consistency.
Ladle soup into bowls and sprinkle with pimentón to serve.
Warm Chestnut Salad
Heat 2 tablespoons olive oil in a medium skillet over medium-high heat. Add shallots and sauté for 4 minutes. Add apples and sauté for an additional 4 minutes, stirring frequently. Add chestnuts and sauté for another 2 minutes. Remove from heat and add the sherry vinegar to the pan, and then the remaining olive oil along with a pinch of salt and pepper. Stir to combine.
Push washed greens in a bowl and spoon chestnut mixture atop greens, and crumbled blue cheese. Toss to combine. Sprinkle with parsley to garnish and serve
Rooted Foods are authentic, native foods that are created by small, community-based producers. They repesent a community, a region and a way of life. By purchasing Rooted Foods you are directly strengthening the social, environmental and economic fiber of the community from where the product originated. This encourages healthier, more stable and self-sufficient economies worldwide.
They are peeled, cooked, and ready to serve.
Ingredients: Organically grown chestnuts.
This product contains no soy, gluten, nuts, dairy, or genetically engineered ingredients.
7 ounce recyclable box