Most of us have heard the song (and if you haven’t, the answer is “…over an open fire”), but how many of us have easy access to an open fire?According to the U.S. Fire Administration – yep, that’s a real thing – about one-third of Americans use fireplaces. So, on average, that means one-third of the people reading this have and use a fireplace. Lucky! You can (and perhaps already have) actually roast chestnuts over an open fire.The rest of us will have to settle for the oven, but that doesn’t mean we can’t also enjoy the heat and beauty of an inviting fire. Gas
and gel-fuel fireplaces are an excellent substitute for the real thing with the added benefit of being cost-effective (wood is expensive!), convenient and more versatile.How?Many artificial fireplaces are “ventless
,” which means they can operate without a chimney or other kind of exhaust outlet. They are also often portable
in that they can be set up in a stand-alone fashion against any wall or in a corner
and plug into a standard socket. Every type of artificial fireplace comes on at the flick of the switch, which makes them easy to use and modulate when it comes to how much heat you need.Now, it’s true that there is no substitute for the crackle and pop or fragrant scent of real burning wood
, but there’s also nothing quite like the soot, ash and smoke that comes with it. Real fireplaces are romantic – and great during a power outage – but they can also be labor-intensive when it comes to maintenance, cleaning and wood storage.Regardless of whether you have a real or artificial fireplace, here’s what you need to do with your chestnuts before roasting:
- 1. Select glossy brown chestnuts that are firm, not wrinkled and free of worm holes.
- 2. Use a sharp knife to score the shell with a 1/8-inch deep cut around the middle of the nut.
- 3. Place nuts in a chestnut roasting pan, or “regular” steel or iron roasting pan.
Now, here’s where things vary depending on the heating method …For ovens:
Roast at 350ºF for about 35 minutes.For the fireplace:
Place the pan over the flames and roast while turning occasionally, until you notice the shell starting to shrink away from the meat inside – usually about the same length of time as in the oven, but perhaps longer depending on the pan and the fire.
- 4. Remove the nuts from the heat, and while still hot peel away the shells and filmy skins.
- 5. Enjoy!
hopes everyone has a warm and delicious holiday season, and are mindful of all USFA fire codes and safety guidelines.