Even back then, I felt a need to save and protect these beauties. Later in life I found out why. Did you know that:
If you collect the ripe full centered seed pods as they fall from the trees, take them from their shells and dry them you can cook them as you would any dried bean. They are quite nutritious, taste a little like a nut, and go well with any meat or vegetable. They also make a good hearty bread, a wonderful flour if pulverized, and a unique addition to a morrel mushroom soup or BBQ beans.
So next time you go walking in the woods, on a crisp autumn day, collect yourself some of the fat centered seed pods and try your hand at a real wild dish.