Table of content A-Z




Synonyms: white walnut, grey walnut, lemon walnut; botanical name: Juglans cinerea


The butternut is closely related and very similar to the walnut, but it is less well-known in Germany. The name grey walnut does not describe the fruit, which has the same colour as the walnut itself. Rather it refers to the bark of the tree, which is of a lighter colour than the walnut.

The characteristics of the butternut are very comparable to those of the walnut. Therefore, only the features that differ from those of its relatives are found on this page. For further information, please read the article about the walnut.

The butternut originated in eastern North America and is cultivated mainly there. In other countries it is valued more for its resistance to frost and for the nice shape and colour of its leaves.


Butternuts ripen somewhat earlier than walnuts, in September. However, one should wait until they fall from the tree by themselves before collecting and processing or eating them. If butternuts are to be stored, their hulls must be removed so that they can dry.

Appearance, taste, characteristics

The fruits are oblong, sticky and hairy. They taper to a point and are approximately 8 cm long.

The kernel of the butternut is very hard, narrow and slightly oily. It tastes very good, similar to the walnut but somewhat sweeter. However, it adheres very strongly to the shell, which makes it more difficult to enjoy it than its relatives. The outer hull is still more difficult to remove. It also contains a pigment that is difficult to wash out of clothing and skin.

Form of consumption, use, processing, practical tips for preparation

The fruits are eaten unripe or ripe, and following a drying period they can also be stored. If they are to be consumed unripe they are usually salted. Otherwise, they can be eaten like walnuts.





  This article was written by




  With the website the Fritz Terfloth Foundation of Münster offers consumers independent and competent information about plant foods and their health effects. All texts are subject to German copyright law. Information about the conditions for use of the texts by third parties can be found here.