Buchecker - health from the forest

Buchecker - health from the forest

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Buchecker: Collect, heat and enjoy

If you stroll through the forest or through a park, you can discover small treasures on the floor: beech nuts. The high-energy nut fruits have unfortunately been somewhat forgotten. But it is worth collecting and enjoying them. It is important to heat them before eating so that the toxins they contain are broken down. Then they are a delicious snack and enrich many dishes with their nutty aroma.

Beech nuts are the fruit of the European beech Fagus sylvatica. The nuts are relatively small with a length of about 1.5 centimeters. The two of you are in a spiky, 3 to 5 cm long fruit cup. When the nuts ripen, it breaks open into four parts and the fruit falls out.

The nuts themselves have a shiny, brown shell and are botanically real nuts, which means that all three parts of the pericarp become woody and enclose a single seed. Beech nuts are "triangular". Under the leathery shell is the embryo with its cotyledons and many ingredients.

The small nuts mainly contain vitamins from the B group, minerals such as potassium, the trace elements zinc and iron as well as carbohydrates, proteins and fiber. Due to the high fat content of around 46 to 50 grams per 100 grams, they are very high in energy with almost 600 calories. However, the fats are mainly in the form of unsaturated fatty acids, which among other things reduce the risk of coronary heart diseases.

But beech nuts should not be eaten raw, because they contain the slightly toxic trimethylamine, also known as "Fagin" after the botanical generic name of the beech Fagus. In addition, hydrocyanic acid and oxalic acid are present in the raw fruits. In order to render these substances harmless, beech nuts must be heated before consumption. This can be done by roasting, roasting or pouring hot water over them. The snacking of the raw fruits when collecting should also be limited to a few beech nuts. Otherwise, slight symptoms of intoxication such as abdominal pain, nausea or vomiting can result.

Anyone who has heated the high-energy nuts can use them very versatile in the kitchen. Roasted in the pan, they develop their nutty aroma particularly well. They are a delicious and healthy snack and refine, for example, salads, mueslis and sweet and savory dishes. In addition, they can be crushed, processed into flour and then baked, for example into bread or cake.

By the way: In times of need, for example after the Second World War, beech nuts served as food and for the production of oil. They were collected, pressed into oil, roasted and used as a coffee substitute or ground into flour. Especially in so-called "fattening years", when the beeches bear a lot of fruit, collecting is a good opportunity to try the healthy nuts. Otherwise, wild boar, birds and squirrels are happy about the nutritious winter supply. Heike Stommel, respectively

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