Butternut (Juglans cinerea)

Butternut Leaves

Identification: A tree indigenous to eastern North America. It has gray, relatively smooth bark. The leaves are large and pinnate, divided into 11 to 19 pointed and toothed leaflets; there are drooping racemes or catkins of separate male and female flowers. Butternuts

Family: Juglandaceae

Other Names: Butternut, White Walnut, Oilnut.

Habitat: Rich soil in deciduous woods. Southeastern Minnesota, southern Ontario, and western New Brunswick, south to northern Arkansas, northern Mississippi, western Georgia, and western South Carolina.

Parts Used: Nuts and sap.

Harvest: Early spring (sap); Fall (nuts).

History: Native Americans and European settlers prized butternuts. Native Americans harvested the buttery fat left from boiling the nuts, make a mush for baby food, ground the nuts for breads and cakes, soup and relish. The nuts were stored for winter food. Native Americans also made syrup and beverages from the sap, but yields were lower than from sugar maple.

Uses Today: Nuts, candy, flour, oil, syrup, sugar, water. Although the nutshells are often difficult to open, the nuts are sweet and delicious; they can be eaten raw, dipped in sugar syrup and eaten as candy, ground into a meal-like flour, or crushed and boiled to separate out an excellent vegetable oil. Although walnuts are becoming increasingly scarce, a single tree will produce a large supply of nuts; gather the nuts when they fall to the ground. The sap can be used in the same way as maple sap.

Nutrients (Per 100 grams)
Calories – 629 Fat – 61.2 grams
Protein – 23.7 grams Iron – 6.8

Butternut also has medicinal properties.

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