|The masts of the Beech tree [Fagus sylvatica] offer an alternative to hazelnuts, albeit tiny in size. Containing a high fat content, oil extracted from the masts was used for cooking and lighting in the past, and once it had matured was claimed to be no inferior to olive oil.|
|Beech masts are very fiddly to shell and nut quality can be hit and miss. To increase your chances of harvesting good quality masts select those which do not have bug holes or appear to have hollowed walls.|
|The kernels can be nibbled on raw while lightly toasting them really brings out a pungent nutty flavour. There is an eighteenth century reference to the kernels being put in soups. Another old source comments that suitably treated they could be turned into bread, it is also claimed that roasted beechnuts have been used as a coffee substitute.|
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