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Can you Eat Buckeye

Can you Eat Buckeyes? Is the Nut Edible? [Complete Guide]

Wondering if you can eat buckeyes or not? Find out everything you need to know about the buckeye fruits and their seeds.

What are Buckeye Nuts?

The Ohio buckeye, or Aesculus Glabra are a type of tree native to North America, and the seeds (nuts) of the tree are not edible.

Seeds from buckeye trees are known as buckeye nuts. They are pretty widespread in many parts of the world. These nuts have dark brown exteriors with light-colored spots. Buckeyes resemble deer eyes in appearance. Therefore, the name “buckeye nut” comes from them.

However, “buckeyes” can also refer to a type of candy made to resemble the nut of the buckeye tree.

These candies are made by combining peanut butter and confectioners’ sugar to form a dough, rolling the dough into balls, and then dipping the balls in chocolate [Keep reading, I’ve shared the recipe below].

They are often served during the Christmas holiday season in the United States. While they are not poisonous, they are not intended to be eaten in large quantities due to their high sugar content.

Can you eat Buckeyes?

Buckeyes are a tan leathery color fruit that split open and reveal the three large black seeds. By peeling the capsule open, the seeds (also referred to as nuts) can be removed. While Ohio buckeye seeds have a look similar to chestnuts, the buckeye fruit is toxic and not fit for human consumption.

Can you eat buckeye nuts?

Can you eat buckeye nuts?

Humans can eat buckeye nuts, but their shells must be removed and need to be roasted before consumption. They are toxic if eaten raw. Consequently, raw buckeye nuts cannot be consumed by us. In addition, other parts of the plant are also poisonous. Thus, buckeyes need to be cooked before being eaten by humans.

How to Leach Buckeyes?

The Buckeye tree is native to Ohio and its nuts were used by Native Americans as food and as a source of tannic acid for leather-making. Buckeye nuts must be treated to remove tannins before they can be eaten. This process, called leaching, involves boiling, peeling, and soaking the nuts to remove tannins while preserving the nut meat’s nutrients.

The process for the same is as follows:

  • Step 1: Use a nail to make 30 holes in the bottom half of a coffee can.
  • Step 2: Bring a pot of water to a boil and add the buckeye nuts. Set a timer for 15 minutes.
  • Step 3: After the timer goes off, remove the nuts from the water and place them in a bowl to cool for 10 minutes. Peel off the caps and cut the nuts in half with a knife. Remove the meat from the shells and discard the shells.
  • Step 4: Put the nut meat in the coffee can and place the can under a running tap in the sink. Adjust the flow to keep the meat covered with water without the can overflowing. Leave the tap running overnight. The tannic acid will be removed from the nuts after 10 hours in the presence of flowing water.

How to roast buckeye nuts?

Buckeye nuts can be roasted in the oven or on the stove. To roast them on the stove, preheat your oven to 350 degrees F (175 degrees C). Spread the buckeyes out in a single layer on a baking sheet. Bake for 10 minutes then take them out and cool.

How to cook buckeye nuts?

To cook Buckeyes, first peel off the outer shell. After that, place them in boiling water for 15 minutes, then remove and cool. Alternatively, they can be boiled in water or oil until they turn a light brown color.

Here’s the complete roasting and cooking process from start to finish:

  • Cook some buckeyes in the oven for ten minutes.
  • Once they are cooked, remove the shells of the buckeye fruit. The shell of the buckeye fruit can be broken with a hammer if it is still hard.
  • Check if the shell-less buckeye nuts are soft after boiling them for 15 minutes. Boil for another 5 minutes if necessary.
  • Add the mashed buckeye nuts to other food ingredients such as meat, vegetables, etc. Enjoy your meal.

What do buckeyes taste like?

Buckeye nuts are hard, crunchy, and toxic when raw. In contrast, buckeyes taste salty and acidic when cooked after removing their shell. The reason is tannic acid which is present in the buckeyes makes them taste like that.

In comparison to this, the Buckeye candies are sweet, creamy, and buttery nuts. Now, What they are and how to cook them?

What are buckeye candies?

Buckeye candies
Buckeye Candy

Buckeye candies are peanut butter balls dipped in chocolate but not completely. They are easy to make and don’t require baking. You can make them by using chocolate, unsalted butter, peanut butter, vanilla extract, and powdered sugar. It’s a nature-inspired treat disguised as a Buckeye (but this is one that you can eat raw!), dressed in peanut butter cheesecake wrappers and shaped like Ohio’s official state tree nut.

How to cook buckeye candies?

Making buckeyes is very simple and straightforward:

  1. In a stand mixer fitted with a paddle attachment, combine the peanut butter, butter, and vanilla.
  2. Stop after 30 seconds or so and scrape the bowl down, then thoroughly mix.
  3. Mix on medium-low while slowly adding confectioners’ sugar. Be sure to scrape down the sides of the bowl too!
  4. You should be able to roll a ball with just a tablespoon of the mixture in your palm. Let it refrigerate for a few minutes and then let it cool down to room temperature
  5. You will need to dip each chilled peanut butter ball inside the chocolate with a toothpick. Once the hole is made, remove the toothpick and smoothen it using a knife.

Are buckeye nuts poisonous?

Buckeye nuts are not poisonous, but they can be a little bitter and acidic to taste because of the high tannic acid content. However, buckeyes can be toxic if they are eaten raw. That’s the reason why most experts warn against eating buckeyes because they cause diarrhea and vomiting when eaten raw.

What can happen if you eat raw buckeyes?


Raw buckeyes can cause diarrhea because of the high tannic acid content. Tannic acid can lead to malfunction of the digestive system, there by causing loose motions and a condition of diarrhea.


Raw buckeyes can also cause vomiting because of the high tannic acid levels.

Paralysis and life loss: If you roast and cook the nuts of buckeye properly you won’t have to worry about anything. However, eating raw buckeyes can also lead to paralysis and even death in severe conditions.

Breakage of teeth:

Raw buckeye nuts can also cause tooth breakage because they are hard. Therefore, you should only consume them after cooking and roasting. Also, make sure that you peel off the skin of the buckeye before doing so.

What part of a buckeye is poisonous?

Buckeye leaves and bark is poisonous. In fact, the buckeye plant contains poison in all its parts. This includes the raw seeds as well. You should not consume any part of this plant. Furthermore, any part of this plant should not be fed to animals.

Buckeye nuts might seem edible to you. But if you eat too many of them raw, they can also be poisonous. Most common symptoms include nausea, diarrhea, weakness, etc. Even death can be the result of them. So in any case, you should not eat buckeye in its raw state and must always cook and roast its nuts after peeling them.

Buckeye vs Hazelnut: Are they both similar?

Buckeye trees are medium-sized deciduous trees. Known for its inedible nuts (when eaten raw) that are enclosed in a prickly husk, Ohio Buckeye also features green-yellow flowers and broad, slender leaves that turn brilliant red in the fall.

The Hazelnut tree in comparison is a hardy, disease-resistant tree, that has a long life span. The shrub is suitable for spreading shrub borders in wide, open spaces. The American Hazelnut is typically used in naturalization projects due to its spreading tendency.

The main difference is that buckeye nuts cannot be eaten in their raw state while hazelnuts are edible even when they are raw. Hazelnuts are also visually smaller than buckeyes. In fact, the taste is also completely different, so they are not even slightly related to each other.

Are buckeyes poisonous to touch?

The tree will not harm you if you touch any part of it. The Buckeye plant, however, is poisonous if any part of it is consumed. Buckeye plants are toxic to humans and can even die if eaten.

Even raw buckeye seeds can poison you. Touching the leaves or flowers of any part of this plant is not poisonous. Consuming any part of them, however, is highly toxic.

In Short, No, the buckeyes are not poisonous to touch. However, if any part of the tree is ingested, the buckeyes can be poisonous.


The buckeye is a shrub that typically grows up to six feet tall. The Buckeye tree is poisonous if any part of it is consumed, including the seeds and leaves. However, the buckeye can be safely touched and even used in naturalization projects.

So are buckeye nuts safe to eat?

Yes, the buckeye nuts are safe to eat, however, they must be peeled and cooked properly before eating. Eating buckeye nuts raw is dangerous as they contain high levels of tannic acid.

In fact, all the parts of this tree are poisonous so you should not consume anything from it other than the buckeye nut (that too should not be consumed raw).

That is all for today’s post. Now that you know that you can eat a buckeye, if you have any more questions related to this, please let me know in the comments below and I’ll be more than happy to answer them.

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