I have been reading various chestnut recipes and can recommend the microwave method of shelling / skinning them. You just put a slit in the skin and then place 6 at a time on the microwave plate and zap on high for 1 minute. They do occasionally explode but once they come out the skin and membrane come off reasonably easily and don't burn your fingers. They need peeling whilst still hot so don't be tempted to start a second batch before you've peeled the first. It is so much easier than boiling them and they stay whole if that is what you want.
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