Beechnuts : frequently asked questions & things worth knowing
As soon as the leaves fall from the trees in autumn, you are guaranteed to stumble across beechnuts, which land on the ground in a capsule-like fruit. Maybe you also tried a beechnut when you were a child, even though your parents told you that it would make you sick?
In fact, the beechnut, when used properly, is a very exciting natural product. The regionally available beechnuts are processed, among other things, into our diverse beechnut oil.
What are beechnuts?
The beechnuts grow as fruits of the common beech (=copper beech). It is often found in forests, although individual common beeches can also appear every now and then. The deciduous tree grows and thrives particularly well on cooler and at the same time wetter soils. Due to climatic changes and deforestation, beech trees only account for around 15 percent of German forests.
Is the beechnut a nut?
From a botanical point of view, the beechnuts are nuts. In Switzerland they are therefore also called beechnuts. It's hard to imagine that a small beechnut will later grow into such a large tree, isn't it?
What do beechnuts look like?
The beechnuts themselves have a characteristic appearance. They reach a length of about 2 centimeters and are protected in a capsule surrounded by four flaps. The flaps are equipped with many spines on the outer surface. Inside grow two or three beechnuts.
When can you collect beechnuts?
From September or October you can collect beechnuts, as they now fall to the ground. This can be wonderfully combined with a walk in the fresh air in the forest. Not every common beech sheds beechnuts. A copper beech only bears fruit after the age of 40 years. Looking for beechnuts under younger trees is therefore not promising.
For larger quantities, only the beech forest comes into question. Often the beechnuts are below foliage. Use a dustpan to remove the layer of leaves from the beechnuts. Once they are exposed, use the broom to sweep the beechnuts into the shovel. For smaller quantities, it is sufficient to visit a single tree. However, it must be at least 40 years old. Before that, after all, it bears no fruit.
Are beechnuts poisonous or edible?
The nuts are edible when properly prepared. However, raw consumption in the forest is not recommended. In the raw state, beechnuts contain a higher amount of oxalic acid, fagin and alkaloids. These substances are among the toxins. Eating beechnuts raw can cause stomach pains and headaches, for example. Depending on the amount eaten, symptoms can range from cramps and vomiting. However, when heated, the toxins are lost.
But you can easily make beechnuts edible by following the two steps that we describe below!
Step 1: Boiling Water
Beechnuts have a shell that is not edible. Pouring boiling water over them removes all shell residues in a short time. Alternatively, you can roast the tasty nuts. If the beechnuts are still warm, you can easily remove the shell.
Small tip: When pouring hot water over them, you have a decisive advantage. This method is excellent for distinguishing between fresh and old beechnuts. When they come into contact with hot water, the old beechnuts float to the top. Fresh nuts, on the other hand, sink to the bottom.
Step 2: Roast the beechnuts
Roasting follows directly after the removal of the shell residues. The more careful you are here, the more you have of the beechnuts. After peeling with a sharp knife, it's time to roast. A medium sized pan is suitable for this. The pan should be heated on the hob. Beech nuts do not need fat and similar substances. Now the beechnuts go into the pan.
Attention: It is essential to keep the pan in motion. Otherwise, burnt spots will quickly appear. After a few minutes, a wonderful roasted aroma develops. The beechnuts are ready to serve.
Some products are now made from beechnuts
In natural circles, the beechnut is known as a superfood. It is composed of various ingredients that are beneficial to human health. For this reason, we have developed our beechnut oil. In this oil, the ingredients are present in a highly concentrated form.
In addition, there is now the highly sought-after, yet hitherto publicly little known beech nut protein. Its golden color is not the only reason for its sale. Here, too, it is a matter of polyunsaturated fatty acids.