Water chestnuts are a staple food in my pantry and once you try them they will be in yours as well! They have a slightly sweet, fresh flavor, and a really crunchy texture. You can buy them canned, or – in some grocery stores – fresh!
Water chestnuts are from an aquatic plant and retain their crunchy texture when cooked. They work really well in stir-fried dishes and can easily be added to all stir fries including my Chicken and Broccoli Stir Fry (Video). You can also add them to things like Chicken Salad, or perhaps you have even tried them wrapped in bacon.
When you buy the canned variety of water chestnuts they are available whole or sliced. They are packed in water which needs to get drained off before adding them to a recipe.
If you are buying fresh water chestnuts they should be firm, with smooth skin and no soft spots.
To remove the soft outer shell/skin of the water chestnut start by cutting off the top and bottom with a sharp knife.
Then cut around the sides until all the skin is removed.
You can then leave it whole, slice it, or chop it depending on what your recipe calls for.
Once peeled, water chestnuts will keep about a week in the refrigerator, but they must be covered in fresh water. The water must get changed daily.
(One more thing, be sure not to confuse water chestnuts with chestnuts from a tree. Chestnuts roasting on an open fire, Jack Frost nipping…are definitely a totally different food from the water chestnuts!)
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