[nafex] re acorns, history, mice and Lyme

Little John moonwise_herbs at sbcglobal.net
Sun Dec 22 17:23:37 EST 2013


Hector,

In the book "Natures Garden" by Sam Thayer he has a chapter on acorns and he states exactly what you said, red oaks bear every other year. As for the flavor of different acorns I can deffinately say yes, there is a difference. The large southern burr oak acorns that I processed this year (in the video I shared) had a very mild flavor when the flour was used with our muffin recipe. The Wisconsin acorn flour, that I've used regularly, has a chocolatey flavor.

Hope thats helpful.

-Little John


 
"If we do not initiate the boys, they will burn the village down" -African Proverb


________________________________
 From: Hector Black <hblack1925 at fastmail.fm>
To: nafex mailing list at ibiblio <nafex at lists.ibiblio.org> 
Sent: Sunday, December 22, 2013 4:05 PM
Subject: Re: [nafex] re acorns, history, mice and Lyme
 

Hi Donna and Lucky,
     That's interesting about the acorns.  I have these Q acutissima trees from acorns a tree crop friend sent me maybe 30 years ago.  We're used them regularly for flour - he said they were low tannin.  Takes 2-3 days of pouring off the water.  Coarse ground before soaking.  Then we put them on trays over the wood furnace in the basement to dry.  Keeps indefinitely and delicious in all those things you mentioned:  cookies, pancakes and whole wheat bread.
     I've read that the red oaks keep their acorns for two years before dropping and so have more tannin.  Is this true?  I've planted bur oak, they are huge acorns, but haven't yet had any crop.
      Another question - does flavor vary with different species?
      The Q acutissima have been regular croppers and very fast growing for an oak.  Seems like they might have some timber possibilities.
     Hector Black, zone 6 middle TN


On Dec 22, 2013, at 1:46 PM, Louis Pittman wrote:

> Good stuff, Donna.
> Somewhere - I doubt I can find it now - I have a table with approximate
> carbohydrate, protein, and fat levels for several oak species acorns.
> Chinkapin oak had the highest fat content of any of the white oak species.
> 
> Deer and goats produce proline-rich salivary proteins which bind or
> inactivate tannins in acorns, and thus, appear to be able to consume them
> with no problems.  Cattle, however, lack these proline-rich proteins, and
> cannot adequately detoxify acorns when consumed in significant levels.  In
> heavy white oak mast years, I've seen numerous cattle poisoned by consuming
> excessive numbers of acorns - kidneys are severely damaged.
> 
> Lucky
> 
> 
> On Sun, Dec 22, 2013 at 10:31 AM, Kieran <holycow at frontiernet.net> wrote:
> 
>>     My husband pointed out that I might not want to kill too many
>> squirrels just yet, after what a friend showed me.  He had a book from
>> the college library on oak trees.  It had a chapter on Lyme disease.  It
>> said after a big mast crop, the mouse population builds up near the
>> oaks, right where the deer were dropping ticks as they fed on acorns in
>> the fall.  So the next year, lots of mice mean lots of ticks.  About 18
>> months after a big mast crop, the potential for catching Lyme goes way
>> up.  That makes me so happy that I had bought 3 Nigerian dwarf goats
>> this fall, who really seriously worked under the oak trees all around
>> close to us eating acorns.  Now that the acorns are mostly gone, my son
>> has finally got settled into the place that needs them so I have
>> inflicted them on him, and just kept 3 little fainters that aren't much
>> trouble.   I hope the 6 goats reduced the future mouse population for
>> us, while saving on feed bills.  Oddly enough, the goats hardly ever
>> have ticks.  I feel pretty inspired by all this squirrel trapping
>> discussion that I think I'll try cutting the population down in the
>> spring, well before any fruit tempts them.  2013, squirrels ate the
>> Kieffers 2 months before they'd have been ripe.
>>     I had so much fun with acorns this fall.  As I have to avoid
>> gluten, I prefer to eat something better tasting than that awful excuse
>> for bread they sell for $$$ to celiacs.  I made bread for 25 years, I
>> know what bread should taste like.  This fall I read the Wheat Belly
>> guy's interview in ACRES USA about rice, potato, and tapioca flour
>> having a higher glycemic index than even wheat, and the same week I read
>> a Paleo book.  So I gave up the awful bread, and started making
>> pancakes, mostly out of oats because the GI is lower, and now even with
>> yeast overnight or sourdough like.  Soo.... that's all very nice, and
>> then the white oaks started dumping their crop.  I picked them up,
>> cracked them with vice grips or pliers, put a handful in a small food
>> processor, learned not to chop them too fine, rinsed carefully in a bowl
>> till they quit making the water white, and used them in my pancakes.
>> They fell for nearly 2 months, so mostly we ate them fresh.    I know
>> they don't keep too long so I put some peeled but unprocessed in jars of
>> water in the fridge.   I also would process 2-3 days worth at a time and
>> keep them in the fridge.
>>     Then we went to a place south of Lebanon TN (pay attention if you
>> travel I-40 that way) called Sellars Mound, where a group of Mound
>> Builders had lived for about 300 years.  We were walking along, and I
>> saw these humungous Bur oak acorns on the ground.  I started filling my
>> pockets, and as we went along following the path by the creek I picked
>> up several variations in shape from different trees.  We don't have bur
>> oaks over here, 40 miles away but 500 ft higher, so I don't know how big
>> they are usually.  My botanical fanatic friend raved over the size of
>> the acorns I collected, he'd never seen any so large.  Seems like a
>> couple Lucky sent me were that big, but then comes the question of where
>> Lucky's stock came from.  Because later it dawned on me that it would
>> have just been downright dumb for the people who lived there NOT to have
>> planted acorns from the best trees they could find.  Three hundred
>> years... people thought differently in those days.  You'd want your
>> descendents to have good food that literally fell from trees.  With
>> agriculture, they'd be picking and choosing which trees to remove, and
>> which to keep.  I'm sure the trees growing there now are merely the
>> descendents of the trees the residents planted and selected. What else
>> might we find at old native sites???
>>      I saved most of the bur oaks to plant where my son is now, might
>> have a few to spare.  I felt horrible guilty, but we ate a few too.
>> They were later than the white oaks, so they were the last ones to be
>> decanted from their jars of water in the fridge.  I missed the acorns a
>> lot for a couple of weeks after they were all gone.  The flavor is not
>> very noticeable except where they are toasted on the surfaces.  I have
>> put them in cookies before, and in whole wheat bread back in the old
>> days.  I have read since that there was a large industry in the early
>> 20th Century  devoted to the production of acorn flour.  It was
>> considered nutritious and especially good for people with TB.
>>     As I am interested in mast crops for livestock, I found that the
>> white oaks made a nice sized acorn for goats.  Chestnut oaks have a
>> thick layer inside the shell that is probably high in tannin, not as
>> easy to prepare for human food, and maybe not as good for livestock,
>> though sometimes you are stuck with what will grow where you are. Eg, we
>> have white oaks, post oaks, and a few chinkapin oaks, the latter I am
>> favoring where I find them in the edge of the woods. Not enough to
>> sample acorns yet, but maybe in 2 years....   Bur oaks seem to be good
>> for humans, but to tell you the truth, I don't think goats would do well
>> with them.  Bison would have no trouble, and Lucky and I have already
>> discussed how they seem well suited to the fox squirrels that live out
>> along the rivers in the plains with them.  I don't know about
>> cattle..... maybe the trick is to have enough demand by humans that the
>> cattle only do the cleanup and don't get too much tannin for
>> them.           Donna
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