Water Chestnuts

by | May 30, 2009 | Uncategorized | 0 comments

Ingredient Name:

Water chestnuts also known as Chinese water chestnuts

Traditional Chinese Name:

馬蹄 (mǎtí)

Water chestnuts are cooling in nature with a sweet taste. 

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Water chestnuts are one of my favourite textured crunchy ingredients for soups!  They hold their crunch, even when boiled to death and are an amazing source of water content and clean fiber!  You can buy this fresh from most supermarkets and they are such a versatile root, which means they can be eaten raw, boiled, steamed, grilled, and even pickled, showing up in soups, stews, and even desserts.  So definitely can flip both sides of savory and sweet.

They are the roots of the water chestnut plant with a dark brown outer skin and a white inner flesh and are usually consumed without the skin.  

 

How do I prepare it?

When you buy water chestnuts, feel for firmness.  The more firm they are, they more fresh.  Older (or expiring) water chestnuts will begin to brown and lose it’s moisture content, which means it will begin to crumble (reminds me of crumbling blue cheese).  You can squeeze it to feel firmness and I will actually pick at it to feel it’s flesh and see if it’s still intact or crumbling.

Since water chestnuts grow primarily in mud and soiled environments, I will be sure to thoroughly rinse them in cool water before usage, even before peeling. 

Peel with a knife or peeler.  You can also cut out the darker middle core as it is a harder part of the root.

 

Where can I buy it and the cost?

      • You can buy in most Asian supermarkets in the vegetable sections.  Sometimes, you’ll find them in the refrigerated sections as keeping them cool will allow them a longer shelf life

      • You can also buy fresh at all wet marts with your vegetable vendor.  
      • I’ve seen them both fresh (as free standing) or freshly packaged (pre-peeled)
      • In Canada, a package of 10 fresh unpeeled water chestnuts cost $3-4 CAD depending on seasonality

Any benefits?

      • Water chestnuts are an excellent source of dietary fiber, riboflavin, Vitamin B6, potassium, copper and manganese

      • It is a relatively cooling food and relieve coughs
      • They contain a high amount of carbohydrates and starch

Any precautions?

  • Due to its relatively cooling effect, pregnant women (especially those who have not yet reached 3 months to term) should consume with caution
  • Raw water chestnuts contain a disease called Fasciolopsiasis, in which a parasite infects the plant (the water chestnut) being eaten.  This can cause in extreme cases diarrhea, fever, stomach pains and fever – so be sure to boil and cook water chestnuts thoroughly before consumption, although they are sometimes consumed raw in salads

 

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