Need Candles? Grab Your Nuts, literally; walnuts, pecans, peanuts and several other nuts, except chestnuts are loaded with oil.
A Fun Experiment Turning Nuts Into Candles
While this started out as a fun experiment, it’s good to know I will always have a candle when I run out of candles, because I always have nuts!
Grab Your Nuts
Who would have thought to use a pile of nuts to create the same amount of light as a candle?
However, the very same thing was used in oil lamps to create light in a dark room; oil.
I for one, like the idea of having a candle made from a plant based product, rather than refined, crude oil, which is what lamp oil is often made from.
When You Need Candles
During the winter months, the days are short and nights are long, which makes the winter months the highest sales of candles for the year.
Come on, you know you head straight to your favorite home goods store to stock up on candles as soon as September arrives, before the good scents are sold out for the holidays!
Autumn Is Candle Buying Time
While the holiday season sells the highest number of candles, I’d say that Autumn is second in line.
Oh how we love our pumpkin spice scent in Autumn.
I discovered something, though, this September (2023), when buying my annual stash of candles.
The quality had dropped, with candles I regularly purchase; many wicks would not stay lit, and for sure there was far less scent. Why, just why can’t we rely on quality anymore…
Nuts For Candles
Let’s face it, nuts are not cheap and for sure I don’t plan to burn a heap of my nuts, when I can make my own candles for far less, or buy them.
However, while making my batch of Healthy Candy, made with nuts and dates, I became aware of how much oil was in the nuts when ground.
Making lots of pies this time of year, I also use mostly nuts for a nut crust because it illuminates the need for butter. Why? Lots of natural oil in the nuts!
So, I wondered if the oil in the nuts would burn, the way my oil lamp burns.
Oil And Candles
Often I have kept a bottle of lamp oil in my cupboard in case the power goes down and I need to have light for several rooms.
Keeping a few vintage oil lamps is just something I’ve always done.
A conventional lap oil is made from a paraffin or kerosene that has been refined from crude oil, to make if free of smoke causing odors.
Candles too are often made from paraffin, unless other made with soy or beeswax; paraffin vs soy. Notice here that soy candles are the only candles being made from a plant, and it is believed that a soy candle will keep scent longer.
Nuts About Animal Fat
As a cook, I am well aware of the flavor brought to our foods from animal fat, which certainly brings incredible flavor to a simple Bone Broth.
However, I often forget that animal fat has been used for so many other necessary uses besides cooking.
I recently became aware of another form of oil used in candle making for centuries; tallow.
Tallow is made from suet, which is the fat from cattle or sheep, something I discovered while transcribing a book I published, written by a woman nearly 200 years ago.
Candle Making 200 Years Ago
Yes, it’s a long story, but I found her memoirs (no relative to me), in my grandparents attic.
They were written with quill and ink, on paper that has yet to crumble away, clearly laid out with intensions to publish her memoirs.
In her memoirs (19th Century Memoirs Of Adelaide Hall), a chapter was dedicated to the making of candles from animal fat, a necessity since they didn’t have electricity.
A fascinating read of life in the late 1800’s, but sure glad I didn’t live then.
Nuts And Oil
While there’s an entire science on the analysis of various types of nuts, tree vs ground, and the types of extractions; from my kitchen perspective, it seems that walnuts would yield the highest amount of oil.
So, walnuts are what I experimented with; first a single walnut and then a stack of walnuts.
It took a few minutes to get the walnut to light, but once it did, it stayed lit until the oil in it was burned down, which then caused the walnut next to it to catch light and burn as well.
Need Candles? – Grab Your Nuts!
The whole reason for sharing this fun experiment with you is that there are often things we have in our pantry that can be used for other purposes.
I could easily see putting a walnut in a tea candle, light the walnut until it catches the wick on the tea candle.
The aroma of the walnut oil was woodsy, and well… Nutty!