"Now, you score the flat part of it like this," A Frost Clan bloodkeeper murmured, holding a small knife against the nut and digging into the shell. Her hair and side mane were a soft auburn, pulled into a braid that curled around her shoulder, well out of the way. The younger bloodkeeper with shorter hair watched her with rapt attention, ears perked up. "Why do we do that, auntie?" emerald eyes reflected the flames from the fire they sat in front of. "Why not just toss them into a pan and heat them?" "They'd explode." She commented, raising her eyebrows.
GeneralSootnuts are considered a hard mast seed. Sootnuts are named for their bizarre properties: Their shell is incredibly hard and durable, due to the fact that the Cinder Tree is a Pyrophytic plant. Sootnuts are often lost into the dirt, and only sprout into more trees after wildfires. The resin coating their shell only melts when reacting to flame, and allows the nut to break free. In uncontrolled fires, the sootnut is known to explode and spread the seed a decent distance.
When growing on a Cinder Tree, the sootnut is wrapped in a smooth and slightly spiky, almost fluffy looking coating. This shell protects from the elements by sealing the nut inside with resin. The nut itself is round and brown in colour.
When cooked, sootnuts are sweet and nutty, and can have a texture similar to a baked potato. When not cooked, it's extremely crunchy, and as a result it is not recommended to be consumed raw; sootnut can be incredibly bitter and acidic.
Fire Sensitive Seed DispersingThe Cinder Tree and its seeds are Pyrophytic, which means they are adapted to tolerate flames and high temperatures, have a unique design. The shells of the sootnut are spiky and tough and will dig into the soil when they fall, and will often get covered by dirt, moss and snow. However, when fire spreads either from a lightning strike fire or a deliberately set one, that's when the seeds will be the most vulnerable. The shell is resistant to most environmental factors, but if enough heat is applied the resin sealing the shell will melt and it will pop open. After it is popped open, it is easy to pull apart to get the nut inside. If the shell is under extended heat after that, it is prone to minor explosions to spread its seeds as far as possible. When this nut is cooked, it is shelled and only then is it heated in a controlled manner.
Uses, Products & Exploitation
Sootnut are commonly used for foodstuffs. From soups, stews to puree, the sootnut can be consumed in a variety of ways, and it can be milled into flour for baking as an advanced use. The raw nut is often used for holiday meals. The main users however, are bloodkeepers, specifically the Frost Clan. Frost Clan members are known for their sootnut recipes, but use it more for their culture. The markings on their amrs are made with a mixture of the cooked sootnut and the ashes of the fire turned into a thick, inky paste.