To shell and peel chestnuts, cut an X on the round side of each chestnut with a sharp knife. Spread nuts in one layer in a baking pan, add 1/4 cup water, and bake in a preheated very hot oven at 450 degrees F. 10 to 15 minutes or until the shells open.
Remove the nuts a few at a time and shell and peel while hot.
To cook chestnuts, arrange the shelled and peeled nuts in one layer in a deep skillet and cover with water. Simmer until tender, about 45 minutes. Drain and pat dry.
Chestnuts may also be boiled instead of baked in the hot oven as above. For boiling, cut a gash in the shell as above and cook in boiling water to cover 15 minutes, or longer if the nuts are especially large. Remove the shell and brown skin while nuts are hot.