Saturday, September 6, 2008

A Nut Tree

This is the first time I've noticed nuts on my tree (actually Tina noticed them)! Until now....I thought these did not exist! I did a little research on the Internet to make sure they are what I thought they were. Beechnut! It's not just baby food anymore!

I have several Beech trees but they are mostly in the shade, the right side of this tree faces my driveway and gets full sun. That is the key to making nuts!

I thought for a second they looked like burdock but the Internet indicated this is the outer husk for the beechnut, hairy and spiny. It still has a inner husk!

The tree has gray smooth bark and the leaves are sawtooth edged. The leaves are the prettiest in the fall, turning bright red and having the veined stem looking like identical lines throughout the leaf. They are also the first leaf to fall.

About the best information I found on this little guy was from a personal site. The writer reminded me of a mountain man, grizzled, denim clad, and photographed with beautiful mountains in the background. He suggests to lay a carpet of blankets under a canopy of beech and wait til the nut is ripe, they drop off the tree.. see the problem with my tree is....the nuts are very high. Jack of all Trades helped me to snip a branch so we could get a closer look.....

Mountain man, states the husk can be peeled to reveal the twin nut pods inside, once the pods are separated from one another, they will look like a triangular shaped lobe with one side being the flattest. The first husk opened on mine by sitting inside over night!

Choosing the flat side to open, (it's the easiest) and using a knife, shuck to reveal the smallest looking nut.

It's said these are a favorite of blue jays, but my blue jays appear to be too preoccupied with the peanut tray and taking turns cleaning me out!

The beechnut was useful in the manufacturing of oil and has a oily taste to them. I also read they are splendid in salads. However, I would think you'd need about a ga-zillion to make the taste or oil production count.

Finally.....I became brave and experimented with the little nut, (it's the littlest speck on the table) I ate has some faint hint of a hickory taste but a very woody texture. We concluded it wasn't quite ripe.

Maybe I'll try again in a few weeks....I think....

I like the first husk, so perfect for dried wreaths, potpourri and arrangements....

In the Garden.....


  1. Very interesting and were you ever brave to taste them...gail

  2. I've never seen a beechnut so this was a informative post today Dawn. The nuts are tiny so I bet they would be great in a salad.

  3. Good morning all!

    Those nuts are really cool! I wish I could grow nuts here-too much of me going nuts with the garden not enough nuts IN the garden! Full sun is important to any fruit, veggie or nut production. You should put that blanket down and collect them all as they fall. Why feed the squirrels? Feed the Jays instead.

  4. Forgot to say it is a good thing you work inside the house alot, your hands are way too pretty to work in the garden.

  5. And here I thought chewing tobacco came from the Beechnut tree. LOL... Okay, sad joke but I could not help but think of the baccy...

    You are a brave soul to nibble on the nut. Let us know later on what they taste like....

  6. Hey Tina, we are on here at the same time... hee hee...

    Saint still in bed this am. He is not feeling too well so a weekend full of sleep planned for him I reckon.

    No rain at all from Hanna and the sun is shining high today...

  7. Did you get your nanner planted? Mine is STILL growing! I have about 5 more babies that have sprouted up. Hope the Saint feels better by Monday. Nice here too after the rain. There is another storm coming up I think.

  8. Hi guys, I looked at the tree on Thur and it still has the nuts on it, loaded. I'm watching tho, I do want to try them in a salad, might taste really good, small like sunflower seeds. (wonder if they keep).
    Too funny 'bout my hands, should see them now after 5 hours of cleaning my suv. No more manicure left, no more nails!
    I hope the Saint feels better Skeeter, hearing Ike will be bad. We are getting misting rain as I type, Hanna for tonight, for us.

  9. Very interesting Dawn. I am with Tina that you should put a blanket down and nuts usually can be put in the freezer, so do that and save some money on the peanuts by putting both out for the jays. They remind me of those things you had and hated in NC Tina, only smaller. Think you called then gumballs. Nana loved them for crafts.

    Hope the saint feels much better when he gets up Skeeter.

  10. Thanks for visiting today. I love the internet for looking about garden information. That is one way I learned (and reading books of course!) about caring and planting my garden. Have a wonderful Saturday! Wendy

  11. OMG, Thanks a million Dawn. You just ID the tree & nuts that I have been trying to ID for weeks. There was a tree {huge} in my neighbors yard when I was a kid that was a Beech tree. It had the nuts every yr. We never bothered to gather--just ate some once in awhile. We had a rope swing on one of the limbs. That was one of the biggest trees on that property. Too excited about info, forgot to say Hello All.
    Hope the Saint is better especially by Mon. Work you know.

  12. Hi guys,
    Mom, I just have to figure out when they ripe.
    Pink Slippers, love your blog name!
    Lola, how did these taste?
    Gail, was brave, but what the hey!
    pgl, I've never seen beechnut til now. Funny what's around us.

  13. Very cool!

    We don't seem to have many nut trees where I live, except for oaks, which will soon be littering the ground with literally hundreds of thousands of acorns that people slip and slide on.

    I don't like the acorns because squirrels dig up my containers and bury acorns in them. Always such a mess.

    Looking forward to seeing how the beechnuts are in a few weeks!

  14. Parsec, I agree with my sister, scary to live with quakes! Yikes!
    We have alot of acorns in Maine too. Pesky squirrels scolding us.
    Beautiful pics on your blogs.

  15. Really don't remember Dawn. So long ago. Just nutty I guess.

  16. Yup Mom, gum balls from an American Sweet Gum tree. Beautiful trees but pesky fruit! They are now breeding them to have no fruit. What a boon if it is ever done.

    Lola, A friend has asked me to move a black walnut tree. Are they supposed to be very hard to move? This one is about 6 feet tall and I am not sure how it will do. If we lose it it's okay as it does have to move, but I'd like to save it. Any tips?

  17. How very cool about your nut tree. I bet they would be very tasty in a salad.

  18. How neat! So these don't have to be dried before eating or anything? I thought most nuts needed some type of prepartion before being eaten. Not that I know anything....

  19. Cinj, from what I read these nuts just have to ripen naturally.
    Tina, black walnut is so gorgous! Beatutiful foliage and wonderfully smooth bark. It would be to bad to lose it.

  20. Dawn, I have one in my yard and it is fairly pretty. Lots of black walnuts this year but none last year. One year the Jimster and I collected them but I never could crack them open. These trees tend to self seed and one did so in the middle of my friend's perennial border. It has to go and since it is a volunteer they won't mind either way. I am waiting for rains, will prune it as now it has two trunks, then move to their nearby field. Hopefully the rains will come as it will be too far away for them to water. Do you have black walnuts there? Skeeter said her mother in law heard a tale that if you can grow black walnuts the soil is very good. I need to research that as it would be interesting. I do know you usually can't grow stuff under them because of juglone, but I haven't noticed any problems. Movie night tonight. ttyl

  21. I had one that was florishing and about as tall as me, I got the bright idea to fertilize it....can't do that to nut trees, least not chemically. I loved it, it was so graceful with it's foliage.
    A friend of ours had a full grown one and SO beautiful, it was the focal point of the yard. She sold the house, haven't seen another since.
    If I was there I'd take it!
    PS< I had heard about the soil thing before, also the fact it's impossiable to open these nuts!

  22. Hi, aunt debbi/kurts mom!
    I like them too and amazingly enough, they hold up quite well.
    Raining now, girls played on the deck it's soooo humid last couple days.

  23. Tina all I did was to dig it up with as much dirt & planted it from side of road to place that was beginning of trees that were close together. But not that close. It made it fairly close to house so I could watch it. Seems like it was in the spring before it started putting on leaves when I moved it. This was in N.C. We don't have them here. I guess the soil was pretty rich from all the leaves all those yrs.
    Hope this helps.

  24. Dawn, I foung this on the internet:

    The nut can be safely eaten raw, despite that it is very mildly toxic, containing Saponic glycoside, which breaks down when the nut is roasted or otherwise processed. It doesn't taste like much raw, though, so should be roasted.
    It is also a good substitute for nutmeg when grated. Hmmmm

  25. Wow, I didn't come across that info, Eve. Nice AND interesting to know, probaly they will keep better when roasted, like bacon bits!
    Nutmeg, hmmmm indeed!