Acorns, Why Eat Them? REVISION: 1

Acorns, Why Eat Them? REVISION 1

REVISION: 1

Last year’s acorn collection were a lucky stash. I had a minor fungus infestation before drying for storage in the shell yet they were collected in late December, in dry air, while brown, and fell late in the season healthy. This avoided the weevil larva infestation since the adult weevil was now dormant. Collecting late in the season produces a low yield. Collecting early in the season, while the nut was green, caused my harvest to become infested with the weevil larva, yet I had a large yield. I found a way to recover fresh laurel oak acorns to dry and store for next year without both the weevil larva or fungus infestations.

For long term storage I prefer the laurel oak acorns to Live oak (so did the Native Americans). Laurel oak acorns have a high content of tannic acids that’s help preserve the meat of the corn, the “cotyledon”, from rot. Yet, to remove tannic acid from the meat is a time consuming operation but the byproduct, the acid, can be used in leather tanning or used as an antiviral and antiseptic.

Soon after collecting green acorns, add them to a large bucket of water. The nuts that float are already infested and must be discarded. Next grind the nut or they will rot if infected in days. In my past post I used a small nut cracker but this was time consuming. A hand grinder will quicken the process for large volumes of nuts. See figure (1 & 2).

Figure 1

Figure 2

After grinding, remove the healthy yellow meat from the fragmented shells. This is simple by using your finger to slide the shells into a pan leaving only the bright yellow meat behind. NOTE: The laurel oak shell has the same density as the meat so the shell will not float in water. Soon after, boil the meat of the acorn in water for at least 15 to 20  minutes to kill off the bacteria, fungus and larva. This will leach a small amount of tannic acid but most will remain in the meat. There is no way to know if a green nut in infested. The small 1/8″ hole that is commonly seen in brown nuts is the exit hole for the larva after it leaves the empty shell of the nut. See figure (3).

Figure 3

Soon after processing, dry the meat in chunks and store in a sanitized sealed mason jars or dry storage bins for long term storage. When ready to server, the meat must be grinded into a fine powder and boiled several times or soaked for several days in clean running water to leach the rest of the tannic acid. You can process out the acid after grinding then store in balk yet I have not tested if the processed meat can become rancid without the acid if not refrigerated. NOTE: If the acid is leached out of the nut with cool water, the nutritious oils will remain in the meat thus increasing the chance to become rancid in time. See Figure (4).

Figure 4

Every oak differs by the nut. The storage rates vary by the amount of tannic acid. NOTE: At the tip of the Live oak nut, there is very little tannic acid. Wildlife is known to eat the top then save the acid base in the ground so to naturally leach out the acid over time so to eat later in the season.

TYPES OF NUTS:    

black oak

cherrybark oak

chestnut oak

chinkapin oak

laurel oak

live oak

northern red oak

nuttall oak

overcup oak

pin oak

post oak

scarlet oak

shumard oak

southern red oak

swamp chestnut (cow) oak

water oak

white oak

willow oak

AND LASTLY…

Germinating acorns can produce starches that can turn into malt sugar or made into alcohol. I will test this in a later post to see how much sugar is generated.

 

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