You can usually only buy chestnuts in the weeks leading up to Christmas; but this recipe of my mother's enables you to have them all the year round. Do it as soon as you can after buying the chestnuts, or they will dry out.
Taking the chestnuts in small batches, cut a wide, deep cross into each pointed end. Place them in a bowl with a little water, and microwave. I find that about 2 minutes 45 seconds is enough for 4 large chestnuts. You will find that the shells have partially peeled back and it is not too difficult to peel them off completely. Do this straight after removing them from the microwave, but beware of scalding your fingers! There may be some of the brown inner skin still remaining, but this doesn't matter: it can be scratched off later if required. Repeat until all the chestnuts are done. Do not let the water in the bowl boil dry, or the chestnuts will bake hard and become inedible.
When the chestnuts have cooled, try biting one to see if they are soft enough to eat. If not, they may require another minute in the microwave.
The chestnuts can now be eaten, or used in cooking. Put them in the freezer in a sealed plastic bag and they will keep indefinitely!