Time for Chestnuts Over an Open Fire

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Jack Front nipping at your nose is optional.

I’m not 100% sure where the association between chestnuts and the holidays first sprang up. I assume Nat King Cole’s Christmas Song was a major contributor, but I don’t know if that was an established thing he was singing about, or if that was just something he did that everyone else started doing. Well, it’d take more effort than I’d care to expend to figure it out, so let’s just talk about chestnuts and the health benefits thereof.

Like most nuts, chestnuts are rich in ruffage. You can get plenty of complex carbs and fiber from a serving of chestnuts; enough to help you feel full and keep a lid on your eating habits, which is vital if you’ve got recurring blood pressure concerns. Interestingly, chestnuts are also fantastic for your immune system. About a fourth cup of chopped chestnuts will get you 20% of your daily recommended vitamin C, as well as 25% of your recommended copper. Yeah, that’s right, copper. We talk about iron a lot, but copper is just as important for the human body. Vitamin C and copper work in tandem as antioxidants to keep your blood flowing properly and away from viruses. Plus, copper promotes collagen production in your skin and joints, ensuring you’re strong, sturdy, and mobile.

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The tricky thing about chestnuts is that they don’t have a very long shelf life. Heck, they’re only in season for about two months every year. I guess that’s probably a factor in the holiday relation, huh? Anyway, you want chestnuts with a plump, glossy shell when you buy them fresh. You’ll actually get better results if you treat chestnuts more like a fruit than a nut; store them in the fridge and they’ll be good for up to a week, then pull ’em out and throw ’em on the fire for a crispy treat.