Q: 'What is the difference between varieties?'
A: Most people are not aware that there are different varieties of chestnuts. It's probably best to think of them like potatoes. Some varieties are better for mashing, some for roasting, some for potato salad.
With chestnuts, some varieties such as Red Spanish are great for purees and soups. Others such as De Coppi Marone are best roasted because they are really easy to peel and have a smooth texture and sweet flavour. Purton's Pride is good for peeling and serving whole in a sauce or as a vegetable accompaniment.
Most growers in the Australian industry now sell by variety, so once you get to know the varieties you can decide which one suits your needs and tastes. There are many different ones so you need to do some investigation to work out which ones are best for you.
Q:'Can you freeze chestnuts?' 'How?'
A: Yes chestnuts can be frozen.
To freeze chestnuts so that they can be enjoyed all year round, leave the shells intact and pack them into a sturdy plastic bag or container. Frozen nuts once thawed are not suitable for roasting but are perfect in soups, purees and seasonings. You can also roast chestnuts, peel and then freeze for use in stuffing's, soups and cakes.
Ready peeled and frozen chestnuts are currently available through Australian Gourmet Chestnuts http://www.cheznuts.com.au/