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  • Writer's pictureCarrie Maria

Chestnuts Roasting on an open South Philly fire

Last week we got the Minders together for a holiday chestnut roast. Before you think we knew what we were doing, stop thinking that. We are not chestnut experts! But that is what the internet is for and we had a lot of giggles in the process.

Chestnuts roasting on an open fire in a South Philadelphia community garden
"Are they done?" "I don't know!" "Taste one!"

We gathered at the Bel Arbor Community Garden (we are garden members) and started a fire mid-afternoon so Minders would arrive to warm apple cider and roasted chestnuts by late afternoon. (And yeah, we had bourbon for the cider for Minders who wanted a splash.)

I wouldn't say that chestnuts are my favorite thing to eat, but the process of making them is fun! Who needs an excuse to play with fire? We don't! (We had to keep an eye on Minder Shannon who would sneak off to the wood pile to put more logs on whenever we weren't looking.)

The Monster Minders unofficial and not-at-all expert guide to roasting chestnuts:
  1. Soak 'em for a few hours. (Some recipes said to soak them overnight, others said for an hour. We soaked them for about six hours. Did it work? Sure! But we have nothing to compare it to.)

  2. Cut an X in the chestnut with a knife to allow them to "pop" when roasting. (See photo above.) Take care not to cut yourself!

  3. Start a fire and get some coals going. Preferably have a warm beverage in hand.

  4. Chuck nuts on the grill until they look done. Move 'em around every now and again. Wondering when they're done? That's half the fun! Try one.

  5. Remove from the grill and wrap them in a towel for a few minutes. (Apparently this allows them to "steam." The towel DID steam!)

  6. Handle with care. They'll be hot! Don't burn your paws. Peel off the outer shell and eat the nut inside.

  7. Smile to yourself because just ate something nostalgic, silly, and smokey.

  8. Try not to sing "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" for the next five days.

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