Today I'm sharing buckeyes - ones you can eat and ones you can't...
It's buckeye season! I don't mean The Ohio State University's football season...I'm a Michigan girl, my heart is all BLUE. I'm talking about the buckeye nuts from Ohio's most beloved tree, the Ohio State tree, the Buckeye.
This is the time of year to head out and collect buckeyes that have just fallen from the trees. This is my first time collecting them, which all started with an e-mail chat with my friend Danni from Silo Hill Farm. She is sending me bittersweet vines and berries from her secret patch. I wanted to send her something and she mentioned loving buckeyes...so I had to find her some. We have buckeye trees all around Ohio, but I never really knew what they looked like. Good thing I have a friend that knows where to find them. She's also an Ohio State University alum, so she would know.
My OSU friend told me head to this park pictured below. Check out the name...
Here is what a buckeye tree looks like...
The autumn leaves are just starting to turn their beautiful colors...
(Click here to see a photo of a buckeye in peak colors.)
The shell of the buckeye has a spiky texture...
Here are 10 fun facts about the Ohio Buckeye Tree (Aesculus glabra):
- The tree stands 30’ to 50’ in height, 2’ to 3’ in diameter.
- The buckeye is one of the earliest trees to bloom in the spring with soft white to pale yellow flowers. Click here to see their spring flowers.
- The tree is one of the first to turn colors in fall (orange and red) and shed their fruit (nuts) and leaves.
- The buckeye nut is toxic and the bark is poisonous, so don't eat them. Squirrels, well they can eat all the buckeyes they want. Early settlers did consume them, but I don't think I'd take any chances...I'll stick to the nuts in stores.
- The name "Buckeye" was derived from Native Americans that thought the nut resembled the eye of a buck (male) deer.
- Early settlers believed buckeyes had medicinal properties to help with arthritis.
- The Buckeye nut is considered lucky. People carry them in their pockets or have them around their home for good luck!
- The wood of the tree is soft and lightweight. Early settlers used the wood for furniture, utensils, coffins, baskets and even artificial limbs.
- Today, people use the nuts for decorations. Ohio State fans love to wear them as jewelry!
- Buckeyes are the chocolate covered peanut butter balls everyone loves! I have a recipe below! I'm sure some of you reading this just had a light bulb moment! If you're not from Michigan or Ohio, you probably wouldn't know that fact.
The Yellow Buckeye (Aeseulus octandra), also called Sweet Buckeye or Big Buckeye, is the largest of the buckeye tree species. Click here to see one of Ohio's largest yellow buckeye trees, standing 100 feet tall and approximately 170 years old.
Click here for instructions on what to do with your buckeyes once you collect them.
A few quick tips - do not store them in plastic bags, that can cause them to mold. Once you collect them, clean the dirt off and pop them in the oven on a cookie sheet in a single layer for 2 hours at 200 degrees F. This allows them to dry out. You can also dry them in the sun. After they are dry, you can use them for decorations and make jewelry.
Now on to buckeyes you can eat...
If you love Reese's Peanut Butter Cups, you will love this simple recipe!
This recipe has been around for decades...since I was a kid.
- 1 Cup Creamy Peanut Butter
- 2 Cups Powdered Sugar
- 1/2 Cup Butter (salted or unsalted) Softened
- 2 Cups of Semi-Sweet Chocolate Chips
In a large bowl, mix peanut butter, butter and powdered sugar.
Cream together until blended well. Next, roll peanut butter mixture into 1 inch
balls and place on a cookie sheet covered with wax paper. Place balls in
freezer for 30 to 40 minutes until firm. When the balls are firm, melt chocolate
chips in a microwave safe bowl, approximately 1 1/2 to 2 minutes, checking
often and stirring. Insert a toothpick in center of a ball and dip it 3/4 in the melted chocolate. Place back on wax paper to set. They set faster in the fridge or freezer.
Makes approximately 25-30 buckeyes, you might want to double the recipe. I store my buckeyes in the fridge. Enjoy!
Thanks for stopping by!