How to Preserve Buckeye Nuts

chestnuts lying on wood

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Buckeyes are the nuts that grow on the buckeye tree. The Ohio buckeye tree stands out among the other varieties of the tree such as the California buckeye, because of its designation as the state tree of Ohio. Native Americans once ate the buckeye, named for its resemblance to the eye of a buck, after a leeching process to make the poisonous nut edible. Today, the buckeye is considered inedible and used mostly for jewelry and crafts. Drying the buckeye prevents the nut from rotting and preserves its form for a long life as a necklace or good-luck charm.

Remove the thick, spiny hulls, or outer shells, from the buckeyes. The buckeye nut inside is dark brown and glossy with a rounded, white spot.

Drill a small hole through the buckeyes using the 1/16-inch drill bit. Although the outside of the buckeye is hard, the inside is soft. The hole helps with the drying and also prepares the buckeye for use in crafting.

Dry the buckeyes by spreading them in a single layer in a box or on a tray. Leave the buckeyes out to dry for a few days. If you prefer, dry the buckeyes by warming them on a baking sheet in a 200-degree-Fahrenheit oven for a couple of hours.

Coat the buckeyes with a clear acrylic spray after drying if you prefer. The spray maintains the buckeyes' glossy appearance.

Store the buckeyes in a container other than plastic bags. Buckeyes stored in plastic bags will mold.