Beech nuts: healthy and tasty

Beech nuts: Nutty aroma for the autumn kitchen
Fall time is gathering time. Freshly roasted fruits are not only a tasty snack for in between, but also taste very good as a topping for a salad, in a pesto or in a spread. They can replace walnuts or hazelnuts in baking recipes. A delight is bread or pastries that are prepared with fine beech flour. The nuts have a fat content of around 40 percent and are rich in monounsaturated and polyunsaturated fatty acids. They also contain valuable protein, minerals and trace elements such as zinc and iron.

The European beech (Fagus sylvatica) is widespread in Germany and France and only forms beech nuts from the age of 40. The fruits are ripe when the fruit capsules open. The fruit stand contains two beech nuts each, which are triangular in outline. However, not all seed pods that can be found on the forest floor are filled. The empty casings can be sorted out with a trick: To do this, fill the collected corners in a large bowl with water and fish out the floating fruit. The coveted full beech nuts sink to the bottom and are poured over a sieve. They are also easier to peel when wet. The tip of the cover is snapped off with a knife and one of the three side shells is removed. Then the nut falls out and only needs to be freed of its fine fluff.

Beech nuts should be heated before eating. Because they contain the weakly toxic substance »Fagin« (trimethylamine), which is named after the scientific name of the beech. It can cause abdominal pain in large quantities, but is heat-unstable and therefore reducible. It is best to pour hot water over the corners or roast them in the pan for a few minutes, which is also beneficial for the aroma. Beech nuts, like spinach and rhubarb, also contain oxalic acid. People who suffer or suffer from kidney stones should generally limit their intake of oxalic acid. Heike Kreutz, respectively

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