Beechnuts can hit the stomach. But there are tips and tricks on how the nutrient-rich fruits of the beech can be made tolerable.
The fruits of the common beech ( Fagus sylvatica ), which cover the forest floors in this country in autumn, are called beechnuts. More common in the past, the nutritious and delicious nuts are hardly noticed today. Often warnings are given against the consumption of beechnuts because of their toxicity. But are beechnuts really that poisonous or is it safe to eat? We clarify all of these questions below.
Beechnuts: the ingredients
Beechnuts have several ingredients that made them commonly used as food in the past. On the one hand, the nutty fruits of the red beech are characterized by a high-fat content, which is around 40%. This makes them a good supplier of energy, which was appreciated in past centuries. In addition, beechnuts contain several important minerals such as zinc and iron.
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Are beechnuts poisonous to humans?
Anyone who wants to eat beechnuts should first be aware that the nuts are poisonous if handled incorrectly. They naturally contain a substance called Fagin (after Fagus = beech ), which leads to symptoms of poisoning in humans. In addition, the fruits contain oxalic acid and alkaloids, which when consumed can lead to stomach problems and worse poisoning. The critical amount for poisoning raw beechnuts varies from person to person, but no unnecessary risk should be taken.
Raw beechnuts are poisonous, roasted ones are not
The solution to this problem is to heat the beechnuts, during which the toxins mentioned are broken down. Roasting or scalding the beechnuts, with which the toxins can be rendered harmless, have proven to be suitable methods. You should therefore always play it safe and heat fresh beechnuts before consumption.
Beechnuts: Toxic to dogs and other animals?
For dog owners, the question now arises: Can you still walk the dog in the beech forest? In general, raw beechnuts are not only poisonous for humans but also to other animals such as dogs or horses. Therefore, when walking the dog, make sure that it does not eat any of the angular nuts. In any case, it takes more than a beechnut for your dog to be threatened with serious harm. If you behave abnormally, you should still consult a veterinarian as a precaution.
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Like all nuts, beechnuts contain many good ingredients. You will find other tasty representatives in our overview of the healthiest nuts.