I expect that most of us Brits will have mostly encountered the tinned version of these crunchy “chestnuts” which are actually an aquatic vegetable and not a nut at all. There’s a good description of them on Wikipedia. Most of us will also know that sliced water chestnuts are good in Chinese food.
Most of us probably haven’t had the opportunity yet to try fresh water chestnuts. Mr ND spotted some in a supermarket in Thailand and bought them out of curiosity. I must admit I’d only ever had the tinned version before but I was keen to try them. They are not difficult at all to prepare and the taste and texture is far superior to those which come in tins. They’re sweeter and crunchier.
All you have to do is to wash the mud off them. (They grow underwater in muddy land.) Then top and tail them, as you would with a radish. Peel the brown skin off with a paring knife. Slice or chop them. And they’re ready for use in your favourite Chinese recipes. You can eat them raw too. Personally I find them rather bland for that. I like them because of their crunchy texture.
If you get a chance to buy fresh water chestnuts, I recommend you give them a go.