Water Chestnut is the nut-like kernel of a water plant that grows in southeast Asia. The flesh is white, crisp, and juicy and has a bland, somewhat sweet nutty flavor. Their crunchy texture makes them popular in stir-fried dishes.

Water Chestnuts

A knobby edible tuber of a water plant indigenous to Southeast Asia. The water chestnut’s brownish-black paper-like skin resembles that of a true chestnut, but its flesh is white, crunchy and juicy. The flavor is bland with a hint of sweetness. These are a staple in Chinese cooking. Although the name refers to them as a nut, they are not a nut at all; they are a vegetable that is grown in the marshes. The reason they are called water chestnuts is because they resemble the chestnut in shape and color.

plural: water chestnuts

Ethnicity: Asian

Season: available year-round

How to select: Choose fresh chestnuts that are firm with no sign of shriveling. Store refrigerated, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, for up to a week. Peel before using raw or in cooked preparations. Water chestnuts are also available canned, either whole or sliced in most supermarkets, but the fresh are far superior.

How to store: Refrigerate, tightly wrapped in a plastic bag, for up to a week. Peel before using raw or in cooked preparations.

How to prepare: ater chestnuts are very popular in Asian cooking, especially in stir-fried dishes where their crunchy texture is a standout. Water chestnuts are available fresh in most Chinese markets.

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