Acorn Abundance -- By Coy Domecq




While removing the remnants of a split rail fence last week, I came across a stash of acorns piled in a crevice of an end post. Obviously there is going to be one disappointed squirrel when that secret spot is visited in the dead of winter. In the pursuit of preparing for winter and during the cold season, acorns provide a major source of nutrition for not only squirrels, but many species of mammals and birds. Acorns also once formed a significant role in the winter diet of Native Americans.
The nutritional value of acorns can range from just 1% to over 31% fat, 2.3% to 8.6% protein, and a whopping 32% to 90% carbohydrate content. The raw acorns store well for the winter and can be eaten whole roasted or made into a flour when roasted and ground.
The nuts were gathered in the fall and early winter. The brown acorns were suitable for processing and the green, immature pods turned brown in time if stored properly. It was important to choose the oak variety that provides the choicest acorns. Some local prime acorn trees are Live Oak, White Oak, and Red Oak. A few, by no means all, of the Quercus types have acorns that are “sweet” and can be eaten by humans directly after shelling the outer coat. Most acorns need to be leached of bitter tannins by repeated steeping and draining the shelled nuts in hot water until the water is clear. Reportedly, the tannin is a defense measure against predation and acts as a pesticide. Consuming acorns without removing the tannins can cause tooth discoloration and gastric upset, not to mention the bitter taste.

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Acorn Abundance -- By Coy Domecq Acorn Abundance  --  By Coy Domecq Reviewed by kensunm on 7:00:00 PM Rating: 5

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