The butternut is a tree in the walnut family that produces green, ovoid fruits containing rough, brown nuts that look similar to peach pits. Butternuts are highly nutritious and a favorite food of birds, squirrels and other small rodents. People use the nut oil for everything from cooking to furniture polish. Butternuts produce a very dark oil that adds its color to anything cooked in it and darkens wood to a deep, lacquered sheen.
People can also eat butternuts for their nutritional value. They taste similar to walnuts and can be used in place of walnuts in pies, pastries and other dishes. The best way to store butternuts for most uses is to dry them.
Things You'll Need
- Parchment paper
- Wire racks
Fill a bucket with lukewarm water and toss in as many butternuts as you can. Stir the water roughly with a stick to remove any dirt and debris on the husks. When the water stops moving, wait a few minutes for the nuts to sink or float. Harvest the nuts that float and dry them with a towel. Discard the nuts that sink.
Set out some wire racks in a cool, dry, undisturbed place. An outdoor kitchen, canning room or clean corner of the basement are all good options. Tear off squares of parchment paper and lay them evenly over the wire racks.
Spread out your butternuts in a single layer on the parchment paper. Set them all at least a half inch apart to prevent rot where the husks may touch. You may husk the nuts if desired, but you don't have to. When the butternuts are completely dry, the husks will crumble.
Allow the butternuts to dry for about four weeks, checking on them each week. The husks should begin to darken and wrinkle but not grow mushy or slimy. They should feel loose and slightly spongy at first, then dry and brittle. When the husks are brittle, crumble them off with your fingers and store the butternuts in the refrigerator.
How Do Pine Trees Survive in a Dry Climate?
Several types of pine trees grow well in dry conditions, and several factors make them adaptable to dryness. The biggest reasons are...
Why Does My Pool Filter Have Slime in It?
A Build-up of slime in swimming pools is a common occurrence during winter months or periods when water treatment is infrequent or...
How to Dry Nuts
If you're lucky enough to have walnuts, hazelnuts or filberts, and the birds have allowed you to keep a few, it's an...
How to Cook Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is easy to prepare at home. Let's explore two common methods for roasting: whole with the skin on, and diced.
How to Roast Butternut Squash
Butternut squash is a type of winter squash that is comparable in taste and texture to pumpkin. Being much smaller in size...
How to Make Butternut Squash Soup
Creamy and comforting, butternut squash soup is a wonderful dish to make for chilly fall or winter nights.
How to Know When Butternut Squash Is Ready to Pick
Sweet, orange butternut squash is delicious used in baked goods or soups, or baked and served hot with a bit of butter...
How to Clean Butternut Squash
Cleaning a butternut squash might seem intimidating to a beginner. The outside skin is very tough and it is an odd shape...
How to Grow a Butternut Tree
The butternut (Juglans cinerea), which is also known as white walnut, is a native hardwood tree which grows in the eastern U.S....
Butternut Tree Facts
Once grown for its gold-tinged wood and its sweet and buttery nuts, butternut (Juglans cinerea) has become a rarity in yards and...
How to Harvest & Store Winter Squash
Winter squash will grow and flourish during the summer months, but it needs to be removed from the ground before it starts...