At harvest time, chestnuts have a bland, starchy flavor and a crisp, carrot-like texture (they are about 50% water). As they dry, in a process called "curing", they become softer and some of the starch converts to sugar. At about 30% moisture, they are sweet, soft, and at the best stage to eat. Unfortunately, such cured chestnuts are very susceptible to mold, and should be promptly consumed. Fresh chestnuts should always be refrigerated in order to delay molding. Chestnuts will keep longer in the crispy, high-moisture condition than if they are stored in a cured condition. Another method for long-term storage is to quickly dry the chestnuts down to 15% or less moisture. Dried chestnuts can be stored at room temperature until used.
We ship chestnuts in a crispy, fresh condition. In this condition chestnuts will keep for two months or more in the refrigerator; for long-term storage they should be stored in a thin plastic bag (grocery bag works fine). Before they are at their best for eating, though, they need to dry slightly - either for a few days at room temperature or for a week or so in a mesh bag in the refrigerator.
Click HERE to learn about preparing chestnuts and incorporating them into your recipes.