I'm not sure about you, but when I say I avoid all nuts and seeds, there are two exceptions. Coconut and chestnut! When I used to eat nuts, I went a bit over board but I cannot say I do the same for these two nuts!
Chestnuts are very different from other nuts. They are low in fat and have a high starch content. It probably why I can tolerate them. My body doesn't like high fat foods (although I do!).
They have a sweet mild tasty and are crumbly in texture. I have to admit, I have only ever bought the roasted peeled kind and have never cooked with them. I know there are many things you can do with chestnuts but for the most part, they are a great gluten free, healthy snack food. I usually buy several packets to take on the plane when I'm going on holiday; the bag is small enough to fit in your bag for an on-the-go snack.
The picture you see on the right are the ones I always buy. They retail at around £1.15 per packet depending on where you purchase them from.
I must try experimenting with recipes. I tend to associate chestnuts with stuffing and that's about it but I am more than certain there are more things you can do with them.
In recent years there has been a coconut explosion. Coconut water, coconut, snacks...you name it. It may be because people like you and me are demanding healthy, quality, low or no sugar, gluten free snacks. Not all of us want to chow down on a bag of ready salted crisps so a suitable alternative is called for.
There I will be reviewing some coconut snacks soon but for now, lets deal with the actual fruit. Yes, its not a nut despite the name! But you knew that anyway.
Coconuts are highly nutritious and rich in fibre, vitamins C, E, B1, B3 and B5. It also contains vitamin B6 and the minerals iron, selenium, sodium, calcium, magnesium and phosphorus.
I know some of you may hate coconuts but others like me and my mum adore them plus we always drink the water. Coconuts make a terrific snack either on its own or when blended with raisins or dates and left to set. Super easy to do and its an instant sweet fix!
Many shy away from coconuts due to the fat content, but I can tell you now its a fat that has many health benefits. Yes its a saturated fat but we need that to stay healthy. If you avoid fats you'll be doing yourself more harm than good. With the low fat movement came the increase in heart disease. There is a lot of confusion and contradictory evidence on the subject of saturated fats, even among the medical profession.
This is not the platform to go into detail about saturated fats (you can read more about it here), but what I can tell you is that if its from a natural food source i.e. butter and coconuts, you'll be doing yourself a massive favour by eating one or the other or both on a daily basis. Mother Nature created an abundance of natural foods for us to eat, so if its full of fat (avocado anyone?) and its something you can grow, pick, dig up, go foraging for etc. then its a sure bet. If it was created by man in a factory, leave well alone!
That said, plain roasted chestnuts and the lovely fruit coconut get the Food PAs stamp of approval!