This week was a bit odd in the preserving area: corn and buckeyes.
I posted about putting up the corn a few days ago, here. We ate the first batch, the worst looking ones, already. It really does help if you actually cook them long enough to be cooked. We’ll have it again this week. This time I am going to put it in the crock pot.
I have been in the freezer several times since I put the corn in there. Being as it wasn’t planned, I just tossed it in where it could fit, which means it is in the way. However, every time I have had to move it I have been glad that I did do something with it.
If you didn’t read my first post, this meant 4.5 dozen ears of corn were put up.
The Ohio buckeye trees (Aesculus glabra) finally started dropping their seeds a few weeks ago. It has helped that we had several windy days. If you have never seen these, they are both beautiful and annoying. The seeds themselves are not really the issue. It is the surrounding part that is spiky and make walking barefoot or mowing difficult. The nuts themselves are a smooth dark brown color, except for the ‘eye’ which is a lighter brown. When they are fresh off the tree, they are shiny; almost as if they were already coated with something. As you dry them, they turn a darker color and harden. You do not want to keep buckeyes if you have not dried them. They mold due to the moisture in their meat.
They are supposed to bring good luck. The squirrels also like them. They can be used in jewelry, decorations, or just kept solo for a good luck piece in your pocket (after it is dried).
I’ve also been told you can eat them, though I have never tried it.
The job of picking up buckeyes, and tossing the shells next to the tree, was the perfect job for some toddlers. They thought it was fun to find nuts, run them over to the pan, then come back and throw the shells against the tree. Work is always better if it can be made into a game. (It also helps that I told them they could sell them on the stand if they collected and dried them.)
Only one of our two trees produced buckeyes this year. Well, technically I found a total of two from the other tree. Compared to what it should be, that is nothing. A neighbor’s tree also did not produce. I’m not sure if it had to do with the weather or lack of rain.
Update: turns out our neighbor’s tree did produce a handful of them; just not the normal over abundance that we usually see.
We have been able to send some to the local school for “fall items”. The rest are being dried for some future yet-to-be-determined use.
So, how do we dry them? I place them either in a pan or on the top of a plastic storage container, as the pan became full very quickly this year, and sit them out for a few weeks. Once they turn darker and dull in appearance, they are dry. Once a day or so I stir them up to make sure air is getting to all sides. The pan has a few layers of news paper in it, the container top doesn’t. I think the newspaper is meant to help absorb and disapate moisture.
Have you ever used buckeyes in a recipe? If so, leave a comment. I would love to hear about it.