BUSHCRAFT FOOD: ROASTED BEECHNUTS

While I don’t want to go into every individual bit of foraging one can do in the UK, I did have a go at making roasted beechnuts over the summer, and thought I would share with you that particular experience. Beechnuts, of course, can be eaten raw, though they can taste rather sour if not fully ripe. Roasting them can overcome this little flaw, although some slight bitterness might remain.

When I picked my first batch of beechnuts, full of novice enthusiasm, I laboriously set about breaking each of them open to get at the nut part, using a brick and a hard surface, not completely crushing them, but just adding enough pressure to crack the shells, then destroying my fingertips as I forced them open. It is only through subsequent experience that I have discovered that once picked, beechnut shells tend to open up all by themselves within 12 to 24 hours, saving you a lot of effort and a few fingernails, provided you plan ahead.

I didn’t have any recipe to follow, but just fancied having a go at roasting them the same way one would roast pumpkin seeds, mixing the beechnuts in a little oil and salt and spreading them out on a tray for the oven. You have to keep a close eye on them as although it takes a little time for them to roast into a nice golden brown colour, it is then a very short step away from them turning black and charred.

Roasted beechnuts are satisfyingly crunchy, but with that in mind it is important to chew them gently and slowly, otherwise you will be flossing out bits of beechnuts from between your teeth for the rest of the day. If anything, it is nature’s way of reminding you not to eat too fast.

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  1. Trackback: ON A FORAGING TRIP « Common Ground Community Garden

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