Published November 1, 2007. From Cook's Illustrated.
It's a single-use gadget, but if you roast a lot of chestnuts it can save time.
This gadget, shaped like an oversized garlic press, claims to streamline the chore of preparing chestnuts for roasting by cutting their tough shells to make a steam vent. We took 2 pounds of chestnuts into the test kitchen and pitted the device against the traditional method of scoring the nuts with a paring knife. Ten nuts in, one test cook cut herself with the knife, but even colleagues who emerged unscathed had to admit that driving a sharp knife into a round, slippery nut made them a little nervous. The Chestnutter worked as advertised, punching consistent X-shaped cuts regardless of a chestnut's shape or size. While the device does require a strong squeeze, it left our fingers unharmed and shaved three minutes off a seven-minute task.