Castaña

castana If you aren’t the biggest fan of the sweet fruits in Costa Rica and you are in luck because there are so many choices to choose from that can also be salty! A hearty snack you should definitely try is the Costa Rican Castaña. Within its “family” of tree species, that can be found all around the world, like the Chestnut in North America or Europe. The Castaña consists of an edible seed and a fluffy and soft skin.

When the Castañas are ripe, they get heavy and fall off the tree. If you find a Castaña on the ground, peel it and take it with you to prepare in your kitchen. At home you can boil, bake or grill the Castañas. After about 20 minutes of cooking, when your fork can pierce them slightly (very similar to when a small potato is thoroughly cooked) you are ready to make the perfect snack. Simply add some salt and your favourite herbs, as well as garlic to them and serve.

Another, more elaborate possibility is to dry and grind them into flour, which you can use for making fresh pasta – yum! A benefit of the Castaña is that it is low in fat and high in protein, so you can replace unhealthy snacks or normal flour with this widely available option!