I have many happy memories of foraging for beech nuts with my dad.

I can’t help myself, I always look for them in the autumn. They aren’t easy to find however, as beech trees produce different amounts every year. Often the shells are empty. They are also tiny so not everyone will think they’re worth the effort!

We were fortunate to find them last October in the woods in Surrey. I collected a large amount and took them home. Check for them from September.

They’re easy to spot and nothing else looks like them. Although squirrels get to them quickly so you’re lucky if you find them!

You can peel the outer shell and eat them raw, although the brown coating is slightly bitter. It can also upset some people’s stomachs so only eat a small amount the first time. I do not have a strong stomach and have never had a problem with them. Still, you shouldn’t eat them in large quantities and many people recommend always toasting them before eating.

Best thing to do is to bring them home, shell them and soak them overnight to get the husk off. This leaves the white seeds. You can then leave them to dry, and keep them in an airtight jar.


Heat a frying pan to medium heat then add them, turning frequently for about a minute until they start to brown. Add to your salad, stir fry or make pesto.