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The Center for Agroforestry

A New, Better Way to Score Chestnuts

It?s true, you must score - or slit the shells of - chestnuts before cooking or they can explode. Chestnuts contain a high percentage of water, which turns to steam as it cooks and then must escape the shells somehow. This is similar to piercing the skin of a potato before cooking.

Conventional chestnut wisdom suggests making an "X" in the shell on the flat side of the chestnut. However, the University of Missouri Center for Agroforestry has found a new method their experts recommend over the "X" technique. Instead, make a single 1/8th-inch deep slit across the center (equator) on the rounded side of the nut. This creates a hinge that opens much like a clamshell when cooked. The chestnut meat easily pops out of the opening and is ready to eat or use for a recipe.

Chestnuts can be cooked over a fire, in the oven, by boiling or by steaming. A versatile and healthy ingredient, chestnuts can be found in soups, pastry or pasta fillings, sauces, salads, dips, and much more. Go to for simple and delicious recipes.

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