Among the Cherokees, and also in Italy and in Tyrol, I have eaten bread made from chestnuts. The Cherokee method, when they have corn also, is to use the chestnuts whole, mixing them with enough corn-meal dough to hold them together, and then baking cakes of this material enclosed in corn husks, like tamales. The peasants of southern Europe make bread from the meal of chestnuts alone—the large European chestnut, of course, being used. Such bread is palatable and nutritious, but lies heavily on one's stomach until he becomes accustomed to it.
Our Indians also have made bread from the kernels of buckeyes. These, in a raw state, are poisonous, but when dried, powdered, and freed from their poison by filtration, like acorns, they yield an edible and nutritious flour. The method is first to roast the nuts, then hull and peel them, mash them in a basket with a billet, and then leach them. The resulting paste may be baked, or eaten cold.
Hazel nuts, beech nuts, pecans, and wankapins may be used like chestnuts. The oil expressed from beech nuts is little inferior to the best olive oil for table use, and will keep sweet for ten years. The oil from butternuts and black walnuts used to be highly esteemed by the eastern Indians either to mix with their food, or as a frying fat. They pounded the ripe kernels, boiled them in water, and skimmed off the oil using the remaining paste as bread. Hickory nut oil was easily obtained by crushing the whole nuts, precipitating the broken shells in water, and skimming off the oily "milk," which was used as we use cream or butter. The nut of the ironwood (blue beech) is edible.
The kernel of the long-leaved pine cone is edible and of an agreeable taste. Many western pines have edible "nuts." The acridity of pine seeds can be removed by roasting.
Chestnut, dry .
Hickory nut .. .
Pine nut, Pihon
Beef, r'd steak