Roast Chestnuts Day
December 14th is observed annually as Roast Chestnuts Day. What does that mean for the average person? It means that this is the perfect time for people to procure some chestnuts and learn how to roast them.
In the United States, chestnuts have been associated with the Christmas season since the 18th century — long before “The Christmas Song” (subtitled as “Chestnuts Roasting on an Open Fire”) was written in 1945 by Mel Torme and Robert Wells.
So this holiday is just another way to get into the Christmas spirit. And since chestnuts are such a good source of antioxidants, it’s a great way to add some more wholesome food to the holiday diet.
The History Of Roast Chestnuts Day
It’s believed that the European chestnut originated in Asia Minor and that the ancient Greeks introduced chestnuts to the Mediterranean region in about 1,000 B.C. Chestnuts were spread far and wide by the Romans, who extended the cultivation of this nut into central and northwest Europe. It’s believed that these nuts were originally given the Latin name Castanea, named after the Roman town where the tree was common.
According to popular lore, chestnut roasting was common during the 16th century in Rome and they were sold by street vendors. The tradition of roasting chestnuts would then make its way into the United States where it became popular and was commonly associated with the Christmas season. Ion 2015, this holiday was created by an unknown source to celebrate these tasty nuts.
Important Facts About Chestnuts
Below are some facts about chestnuts that we feel everyone can appreciate. Let’s take a look at them before moving on to how this day is celebrated.
- Chestnuts have a lot of starch, so they can be used in beer in much the same way as malted barley.
- Dried chestnuts can be ground into flour. This chestnut flour can then be used for making bread.
- The oldest and largest chestnut tree in the world is the 100 Horse Chestnut in Sant’Alfio, Sicily.
- Before a battle, Roman soldiers were given a chestnut porridge.
- Chestnuts are the only nuts that contain Vitamin C.
- Chestnuts have a wide variety of minerals including iron, potassium, magnesium, sodium, calcium, phosphorus, and zinc.
- The Italian name for a roasted chestnut is caldarroste. They are often sold in paper cones by street vendors.
- A cross is cut on the flat side of the chestnuts before roasting to ensure that they don’t explode.
Observing Roast Chestnuts Day
Chestnuts can be roasted in a pan or cooked in the oven. Either way is perfect for making chestnuts for Roast Chestnuts Day. Once that’s done, people can take the time to spread the word about this holiday using the hashtag #RoastChestnutsDay on social media. Let’s all enjoy some roasted chestnuts on this day!