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Macademia nuts are poisonous to dogs.

Don't eat pistachios that haven't split open, they aren't mature.

Squirrels will store nuts in the dryer vent and, oh boy, they are flammable!

Rose Hart's OutSide
Given that they don't really use sticky notes or have a GPS plotter, exactly how do squirrels remember where their acorns are stored? Gray squirrels bury acorns throughout their territory and find them with their sharp sense of smell. Crows will watch squirrels bury nuts, wait until they leave and then dig them up. This is a mast year for acorns, though, and there should be plenty for everyone.

Although both White and Red Oak acorns can be processed for human consumption, White Oak takes less processing to remove the bitter tannin. One method is to bury them, like a squirrel, but more typical is boiling. The acorn's tannin can be used as a topical astringent for skin irritations, poison ivy and insect bites, as a laundry detergent and to dye fabric and leather.  The leftover nutmeats can be ground into a paste or dried to make a sweet meal flour.

Leaving acorns on the lawn over winter won't damage the grass, lawn damage comes from the squirrels burying the acorns and digging them back up. The high acid content of the nuts is actually good for the grass, the oaks themselves are thirsty trees and rob grass of sunlight, water and nutrients.

That anything edible inside a hard husk is called a "nut" stems from culinary tradition. A peanut really is a fruit: Cashews, pistachios and Brazilnuts are seeds, a lychee nut is a fruit, as is the almond. It's a well known fact that eating walnuts, almonds, macademia nuts, pecans and peanuts can help lower cholesterol, reduce the risk of heart disease and diabetes; and nuts contain healthy fats and antioxidents. Ripe chestnuts are 8 percent sugar and are the only nut to contain vitamin C. Brazilnuts are noted for being high in calcium and the antioxident selnium; while walnuts are high in Omega-3 fatty acids. Cashews are high in fiber and protein, peanuts contain vitamins E and B. High fat content nuts; walnuts, pine nuts, macademia, Brazilnuts, will quickly turn rancid and so need to be stored in the freezer.

We're long removed from sustenance gathering of raw nuts, but the fact is that raw cashews, pistachios and almonds have poisonous shells. The almond's shells are processed to remove prussic acid, a compound used to make cyanide. Cashews and pistachios are related to poison ivy and contact with the raw shell causes a rash, hence they are soaked, then steamed or roasted to neutralize the chemical urushiol before being sold for human consumption.

Sources used for this newsletter:

Fresh chestnuts need to be boiled or roasted, then shelled and peeled. To roast them, cut an X into each shell (to allow steam to escape) and bake them in a 400° oven for about twenty minutes. While they're still warm, peel off both the shell and the furry skin surrounding each nut. Alternatively, boil the chestnuts for about 15 minutes, then remove them from the water with a slotted spoon. Peel off the shells and put the nuts back in the boiling water for another minute, then remove them again and peel off the skins. Select fresh chestnuts that are shiny and heavy for their size. Store them in the refrigerator and use them within a week.

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