The Garden Guide

Book: A treatise on the theory and practice of landscape gardening, adapted to North America,1841
Chapter: Section IV. Deciduous Ornamental Trees

Use of beech nuts to make oil

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It bears a small compressed nut or mast, oily and sweet, which once was much valued as an article of food. The most useful purpose to which we have heard of their being applied, is in the manufacture of an oil, scarcely inferior to olive oil. This is produced from the mast of the beech forests in the department of Oise, France, in immense quantities; more than a million of sacks of the nuts having been collected in that department in a single season. They are reduced, when perfectly ripe, to a fine paste, and the oil is extracted by gradual pressure. The product of oil, compared with the crushed nuts, is about sixteen per cent. (Michaux, N. American Sylva.) In Europe, the wood of the beech is much used in the manufacture of various utensils; but here, where our forests abound in woods vastly superior in strength, durability, and firmness, that of the beech is comparatively little esteemed.