How To

At Sawyer Rd, we’ve been growing Chestnuts for over 40 years so we figure we know a little bit about how best to prepare and eat them!

Below you’ll find expert advice and simple, tried and tested methods for preparing, roasting, boiling, freezing and storing your chestnuts. 

Cooking times will depend on the size of the chestnuts you have and the heat generated by your cooking device. Remember to test as you go to determine the optimum cooking time for your chestnuts and preferred tastes. 

Read on for how best to care for your Sawyer Rd Chestnuts.

Eating Chestnuts

The texture of a cooked chestnut should resemble a perfectly cooked potato.

The flavour is a unique and slightly sweet taste, which varies dependant on the variety and whether it is early or late in the season.

If they are still quite firm, they need a little longer cooking.

Chestnuts can also dry out quickly if left roasting too long.

Our best tip is to play around with different methods and do lots of tasting as you go! Yum!


Chestnuts are a sensitive product when compared to other nuts. They are fresh produce and need to be put straight into the fridge.
If you can, keep your chestnuts in your Sawyer Rd Chestnuts bag, closed and in the fridge. If you are buying smaller amounts, keep them sealed in a paper bag or a plastic one with holes. Your chestnuts can be stored this way for two months or longer so please remember, proper storage is important!
Do not store chestnuts on the bench. If you leave them out for a few days, they will ripen up just like a banana and get deliciously sweet. However, you will only get a couple of days using this method before they start to dry out.
Note: Chestnuts generate their own natural heat very quickly. If you leave your chestnut bag out of refrigeration, they will quickly heat up which will cause the chestnut to ‘go to seed’ and start to sprout.

How to score

You MUST score every chestnut before cooking otherwise they will explode - and we mean explode!
Grab a sharp knife. We usually use a Stanley knife or a little hunting knife. 
Cut a straight line across the head so when it cooks the shell opens like an oyster. You can also put an X across the belly of the chestnut. 


Preheat your oven to its highest temperature. We like to cook our chestnuts at 250 degrees.

Roasting chestnuts takes approx. 18- 20 minutes depending on the size. Turn them over halfway through. The skins will darken, and possibly look burnt, but that’s perfectly fine - you don’t eat that bit! 

You will know you’re on the right track when you start to smell the delicious aroma of the chestnuts cooking. 

When the chestnuts are close to being done, crack one open and have a look. If they still look ‘waxy’, they need a little bit more time. If they’re still crunchy, they need more time.

Don’t worry – they will be worth the wait!


Before boiling chestnuts, you’ll first need to decide what you would like to do with them.

Whether you are eating them straight away, freezing them or adding them to another dish will determine how long to boil the chestnuts.

Your first step is to score your chestnuts or cut them in half, whichever you prefer. Then pop them into a pot of boiling water.

If you are boiling your chestnuts for immediate consumption, after scoring, boil for between 12-15 minutes. The time will vary dependant on the size of the chestnuts you have. Do taste as you go along. 

When you remove the chestnuts from the boiling water wrap them up into a tea towel and let them steam for a minute or two. This will help remove the shells. Keep the chestnuts wrapped up as you peel each one, otherwise, as they cool down, the shells and skins will stick together.


Freezing your chestnuts is a great way to store them and means you can have delicious chestnuts all year round!

However, there are some important things we recommend to ensure they are delicious once defrosted.

First things first, do NOT freeze them fresh. They will break down and go off, as fresh tomatoes would if you put them fresh into the freezer.

Score your chestnuts and pop them into boiling water. Boil for only 3-4 minutes. This is enough time to parboil them and help remove the shells but not cook them all the way through.

If you cook them too long, they will break down or dissolve when cooking them for a second time such when adding to a stir-fry. It will not affect the taste, just the look.

Once boiled, wrap them up into a tea towel and let them steam for a minute or two. This helps to remove the shells. Keep the chestnuts wrapped up as you peel each one, otherwise, they cool down and the shells and skins will stick on. 
Pop your chestnuts straight into a zip lock bag and pop them into the freezer.

Now you have delicious chestnuts ready to go whenever you like!
You can also freeze roasted chestnuts or any chestnuts that have been par-cooked. We find that parboiling makes them look their very best though!

Check us out on Instagram...

For more inspo, tips and cooking tricks.