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How to Forage for Beech Nuts

Beech nuts are one of the best foods to forage for in the Fall. The nut of the beech tree, they’re easily recognizable and very nutritious.

Walking in the woods may offer provisions for thousands of edible nuts to gobble up.

beech nuts in their husks on a beech tree

During this time of the year, a sturdy, good looking tree stands out from the rest because of its smooth, light gray trunk and shiny, parallel-veined leaves.

Beech trees are deciduous plants popular for offering excellent quality wood (used as firewood and lumber) and diamond shaped leaves with pointed ends that are often used as herbal remedy for digestive problems.

For more information on the medicine uses of beech and other trees, check out my post 20 trees you can forage medicine from.

Besides those incredible qualities that this tree has, beech trees also produce fruits with high nutritional value.

What we’re going to talk about are small, edible, roughly triangular shaped fruits with a velcro husk outer shell, that is called beech nuts – a forager’s goldmine of healthy calories.

three empty beech nut husks

Health Benefits of Beech Nuts

Beech nuts have incredible nutritional value that are hard to resist.

Relieves Headaches

Pain and inflammation cause discomfort, often obstructing daily flow. Besides taking pain relievers, why not try a natural approach to relieve them?

Beech nuts are known to have analgesic properties that can reduce inflammation and pain, especially headache.

Because of its powerful chemical compounds, it is recommended by health experts as one of the best herbal analgesics available on the market these days!

You may use its oil as a medical ointment applied topically on affected areas.

A good source of antioxidants

If you want a natural approach of removing toxins from your body and inhibiting the growth of free radicals, try beech nuts.

This is an economical and effective way of improving the immune system and your body’s inflammatory response. More antioxidants in the body means lesser risk for cancer.

Infant Health

Beech nuts contain high levels of Vitamin B6 (folic acid), which is an essential vitamin that prevents neural tube defects, making them an excellent source of food for pregnant women.

two beech nuts, in their shells, with beech tree leaves

Good for your hair

Get instant hair care when you use beech nut oil to treat brittle hair and hair loss.

Beech nuts have unique chemical components that can strengthen hair follicle beds and bring back the shine in your hair!

If you want a natural way of improving your hair, beech nuts may just be the answer to all your bad hair days!

 A natural sedative

It’s amazing how beechnuts can help you be relieved from stress and anxiety. This small fruit contains sedative properties that are perfect as treatment for chronic stress.

Moreover, it helps in improving blood circulation in your nervous system. This goes to say that as more oxygen is being supplied in major areas, the more your body can handle stress.

Nutritional Value of Beech Nuts

For the basic nutritional information for roughly 1/2 cup of beech nuts, see the table below:

Source

Calories576
Total fat50g
Sodium38mg
Total carbs34g
Protein6.2g
Folate113mcg
Riboflavin29% RDV
Thiamin25% RDV
Vitamin B653% RDV
Vitamin C17% RDV
Copper74% RDV
Iron14% RDV
Manganese58% RDV
Potassium22% RDV
For some of these I’ve put the amount, and for others I’ve put the Recommended Daily Value (RDV) to show some context
an empty beech tree nut husk

Identifying beech trees

To know where to find beech nuts, you have to know how to find the beech tree.

Native to Europe, Asia and North America, there are 10-13 subspecies.

They grow in a wide range of soil types, but do not like waterlogged areas.

In North America, they tend to grow near maple trees.

From far away, you can recognize beech trees by their smooth, grey bark that resembles the skin of an elephant.

The beech leaf is symmetric, shaped like a paddle with smooth edges. Once you see a beech leaf, you’ll recognize them instantly.

Foraging For Beech Nuts

What does a beech nut look like?

Beech nuts have two shells that need to be husked quickly using your hands. First, you need to break open the outer velcro husk. Don’t worry about the spikes because they aren’t sharp.

The interior shell covers the best part of the fruit (nutritious edible nut), but if you want to savor the taste, it is best not to break the interior shell yet and wait for a couple of weeks instead.

spikey beech nuts in a tree

Some foragers wait until the interior nut completely dries up to enhance the taste. A little patience is needed.

While waiting, it is best to keep the nuts in a well ventilated place indoors.

You can keep them for years if you like (preferably inside a tight jar) and it will not rot, as long as the interior shell is kept intact.

Although you can eat them raw, beech nuts are actually safer to eat when cooked to avoid the possibility of getting gastric problems.

For the best online foraging course, I cannot recommend Herbal Academy more. Their foraging course is the best replacement for having someone show you in person.

Enroll in The Foraging Course this season for only $39!

Cooking with Beech Nuts

Roasting

Roasting is the most popular way of cooking beech nuts, because aside from the fact that the whole process is easy to do, this method enhances its flavor.

Here are the steps:

  1. Remove the outer velcro husk using your hands.
  2. Prepare a shallow pan and begin roasting the inner nut until it naturally falls off.
  3. Once the steam evaporates and the nuts become brown, remove them from the pan and transfer to a clean container.
  4. Remove excess skin by rubbing them gently using a cloth. Add a little salt to taste.
  5. You can place the salted nuts inside a tight jar to be enjoyed for a considerable time.
beach nuts on a beach tree

Beech Nut Butter

If you’re crazy about peanut butter, this recipe may be a good alternative if you want to cut calories from your diet. It is very easy to make.

  1. Gather all the beech nuts you have collected and peel off the outer velcro hush
  2. Roast the nut for about 10 minutes in a hot oven (or refer to the roasting steps above)
  3. Rub off skins using a clean towel to remove any excess particles
  4. Use a blender and blend the nut for about 2 to 3 minutes. Add a small quantity of oil if it is too dry or not spreadable.
  5. You can also add salt, sugar, or honey to desired taste. I prefer honey.
  6. At this point, you may or may not want to add whole nuts to your recipe to make it crunchy.
  7. Once the mixture forms a ball, it is ready to be spoon into jars and kept in a clean container (tight jar).
  8. Refrigerate and enjoy!

You can also find beech tree syrup being sold on the market these days, but I haven’t tried it myself personally.

For more foraging posts, check out:

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