A week ago I cut through a Buckeye husk and found the full-sized nuts were still white — not the rich brown Buckeye color that’s so beautiful. (You can see the unripe nuts here.)
Well, I set the unripe nuts and husk on a top shelf in our kitchen, out of reach of cats and squirrels. A week later, this is what I found:
The nuts had turned brown and shiny! However, they had also shrunken and wrinkled just a bit. The husk had shriveled and split, revealing a third nut hidden inside.
I’ve got eight or ten more Buckeye husks set aside. I was thinking of cutting them open at the block party this Saturday and making Buckeye crafts (see ideas here). But there are two things that worry me: Some kids on our block have nut allergies — would those extend to Buckeyes? (Others have pondered this question.) Also, many references say fresh Buckeyes are poisonous to fish and other living things (for instance, here). So, maybe Buckeye husking will be a demonstration and not an activity.
Sometimes I wonder how I survived childhood.
Update added October 30, 2009: Buckeyes trees are similar to Horse Chestnut trees. Here’s a blog post from Scotland about collecting conkers, which look like buckeyes but come from Horse Chestnut trees: http://creativestarlearning.blogspot.com/2009/10/conkers-part-1.html
Added November 10, 2009: Conkers, Part 2, is all about games children can play just as well with Buckeyes as with Horse Chestnuts: http://creativestarlearning.blogspot.com/2009/10/conkers-part-2.html