Working with oak and acorns

Oak harvesting is coming up, now’s the time to prepare. Rebecca shares some of what she knows.

White oak and acorns in autumn
White Oak in fall

The oak tree is one of the greatest gifts in this area. I’ve been gifted many teachings on the oak, but would likely butcher all of them in the retelling.
What I do know.

1) Oak leaves stay on the tree year round, dried and shriveled through winter and as such are always a reliable source of kindling for a fire. This also makes them generally easy to spot, in most seasons.

Oak leaf in late fall

2) Acorn was a food staple in this area pre-contact. It was ground into a high protein flour, roasted, and made into many dishes, even as a caffeine free coffee substitute.

3) Much of the oaks in this area have been decimated through centuries of logging, and urban sprawl and has often been replaced with the more popular maples in yards.

4) Don’t eat or collect the acorns on the ground, they will have more bugs than nut meat, and they can be a little green as they will brown up once picked. You know they are ripe when the acorn separates from the cap easily. You can lay down a tarp or sheet and give the tree a good shake.

5) Acorns must be leached before eaten for safety as they contain high levels of tannins that can be toxic in high doses.

Acorns ripen in early fall. So now is the time to find the acorn trees on public land that we can potentially forage so we can try our hand at making some acorn flour for next year.

Please, start taking note in your neighborhood and local parks and add the locations here!

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