[permaculture] acorns

Kathy Carter-White kathycarterwhite at earthlink.net
Wed Dec 24 16:28:54 EST 2003

Jamie-  feel free to use anything I post.  Info is below.
Kathy Carter-White, Tahlequah Oklahoma


Imogene Dawson in Indian Food for the Body Food for the Soul quotes 
Michael Beaty "Oak trees are divided into two sub groups, the white oaks 
and the red oaks.  Acorns from the white oak group are often referred to 
as sweet and are edible without any processing.  The acorns of the red 
oaks are quite bitter, and require processing as described below to 
remove the tannic acid before use.  An easy way to tell the difference 
without tasting the acorns is to look at the leaves of the trees.  The 
lobes on the leaves of the white oaks are rounded, while those on the 
red oaks are pointed and have a fine bristle protuding from them." 
Clean acorns.  Build a fire under a big iron Kettle.  Put 2 gallons of 
sifted ashes in the kettle with 4 gallons of cold water.  Mix and add 2 
gallons of cleaned acorns.  Stir while bringing mixture to a full boil 
and continue until acorns are skinned.  Wash the acorns in many changes 
of water until they're clean.  Soak in clean water over night.  Pour off 
the water.  Place acorns on a framed screen to dry in the sun.        To 
use as a cereal, grind some of the nuts in the mortar.  When grit is 
about rice sized, cook as you would cook hot cereal.  This is also good 
to eat with butter."

This Imogene Dawson book is good because it features traditional recipes 
from many Southeastern and Oklahoma tribes.  It is self-published by 
Holitopa, P.O. Box 12721, Oklahoma City, OK  73157-2721 and was 
published 1992 ISBN 0-96335-330-6.  I think it is available from the 
Cherokee Nation Gift Shop, which is probably on the partner links page 
at www.cherokee.org

jamie wrote:

>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
>permaculture mailing list
>permaculture at lists.ibiblio.org
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