[permaculture] acorns

jamie jamie at tiscali.fr
Wed Dec 24 05:03:36 EST 2003

Thanks to Rob and Kathy for their comments. I know that J Russell Smith's
'Tree Crops' was an essential foundation text in the development of
Permaculture and wonder what work has been done by permaculturalists in
respect of the breeding work for oaks (as well as many other forage and food
trees) advocated by Smith?

The 'cork and pork' dehesa system of Portugal and Spain using Quercus suber
(cork) and Q. ilex (for feeding pork and with Q. ilex var. ballota to feed
humans without need of leaching) continues, I believe, to this day. Does
anyone know if such a system has been introduced to the US in the South West
perhaps, where I know from friends Q. ilex volunteers freely? Are there low
tannin US species of acorn that can be eaten out of hand? Or work toward
such an end?

On calcareous soils (such as I have here in France) chestnuts do not thrive
and acorns become the obvious alternative and, inspired by Smith's words and
his sense of urgency that we find alternatives to the erosion prone culture
of cereals on hillsides (an urgency only increased with the history of
agriculture in the 20th Century - 'Tree Crops' was first published in 1929
after all) I'd very much like to follow research done in this area. If ever
there was a Permaculture project of first importance for temperate
agriculture then Smith defined it perfectly 74 years ago.

A concerted effort to gather the experience of PCers and researchers alike
and put together a booklet of the information currently available might well
kindle/rekindle a system that has been shown to be not only profitable but
ecologically beneficial. I'm very willing to see what I can uncover here in
Europe (close to the Spanish border) but wonder if there are others in SW
USA and elsewhere that might be able to contribute their experience and
knowledge to help make a compelling case for the adoption of oak-based
forest systems?


-----Original Message-----
From: permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org
[mailto:permaculture-bounces at lists.ibiblio.org]On Behalf Of Kathy
Sent: jeudi 18 décembre 2003 09:08
To: permaculture
Subject: Re: [permaculture] acorns

Hi Jamie-  I took a Cherokee wild cooking class and one of the dishes
was acorn bread... actually more like the texture of corn mush.
According to Indian Herbology of North America, acorns can be used for
soup, bread and pudding.  I can't find my recipe book right now, but
I'll check for recipes.  Indian Herbology says these were gathered
sometimes, ie 500 lbs per person and stockpiled for winter cooking, so
I'd assume they were gathered in the fall... and I'm guessing it was
after first frost just because most things for winter were gathered
after first frost (grapes, persimmons, hickory nuts).  Were the White
Oak better?  Above source says acorns have the property of neutralizing
poison... Just guessing that the high tannin content  does the ph
thing.  I recall you roast them before grinding, and pour boiling water
over them to take away the bitter... k


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