When life gives you chestnuts… you make chestnut jam.
When you have more chestnut trees than you can easily count, and they produce an abundance of chestnuts, you find a way to use them, unless of course, you are only using them to feed the local deer and squirrels. Since we have enough nuts to feed just about every living thing around us, I’ve discovered a tasty way to enjoy this nut well into the winter.
There’s all kinds of ways to use chestnut jam.
Chestnut jam. What is it like? It is beyond better than I ever anticipated. It reminds me of caramel. It has warm, sweet notes that play well as a topper to plain yogurt. I didn’t get too far into trying it on anything other than yogurt because IT’S THAT GOOD. One day, however, I got creative with my cinnamon rolls and decided to use it as the filling. Those cinnamon rolls ring true of any delicious holiday memories you can conjure up. I’m sure this filling would be wonderful in thumbprint cookies, mixed into oatmeal, on top of vanilla ice cream… lots of possibilities. The recipe I used, only made about 3 jars. It was messy to make and my fingers felt the heat a bit- but we enjoyed every bit of what was in those 3 jars with a little extra to sample. It’s definitely a labor of love to prep for, but something very unique. *Packaged, peeled chestnuts might be found at a store.
How to make chestnut jam.
2-2 ½ lbs. of chestnuts, skin on (this is approximate, assuming some nuts will be bad).
1). Score all chestnuts with an “x,” using a sharp knife.
Place chestnuts in a bowl of water. Discard any chestnuts that float- those are bad.
2). In a large pot of boiling water, put the rest of the chestnuts in, boiling for 5 minutes. Turn off the heat and peel each chestnut from the corners of the “x” that have curled up.
26 ½ oz. of peeled chestnuts
3 Bourbon Vanilla Bean Pods (regular vanilla is fine too)
1 cup 3 ½ oz. Sugar
Put all of the peeled chestnuts into a large pot with the scraped seeds from the vanilla bean pods. Discard the pods. Cover the nuts with water. There isn’t an exact amount to be used- only that the chestnuts are able to cook in the water. Bring to a boil, reduce heat to low, and cover the pot for about 30 minutes. When the chestnuts have softened, add the sugar and stir until smooth. Cook until chestnut jam reaches 219 degrees F. Ladle into jars and add a lid. Cool completely.
Honestly, I’m not sure about how long these “keep” in the refrigerator- but I’m sure your jars won’t last long anyway… I did keep a jar in the freezer for a year. I thawed and made cinnamon rolls without a problem. Use your best judgement.