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pistachios and other nuts as pig forrage

 
                                  
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Hi all,

I'm new to the forum reporting in from south-central Mexico (tehuixtla, Morelos to be exact). 

You may wonder why I would give precious pistachios to pigs - it's because the varieties here are bitter (it doesn't get cold enough to grow the nice ones). But the trees are wonderfully resistent to drought and give lots of pistachios, I figure I can gather them from neighbors until my own are bearing well.

So my question is, especially given their bitterness, should they be heated/roasted/boiled something before feeding? As well as other nuts in general? I noticed an acorn list here somewhere that listed varieties that  are low-tannin. No acorns here, but lots of N fixing trees with high protein pods and nuts.

And I suppose it is too much to ask if anybody knows exactly how to detoxify castor beans. One is supposed to press them to get the oil out first, and I figure that is enough of a barrier to go any further , but here in the past castor oil was mixed 50:50 with alcohol for lamp oil. Don't know if I really want to go there....

thanks for any help,
George Anna
 
Joel Hollingsworth
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Posts: 2103
Location: Oakland, CA
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Some varieties of pig will be more reistant to the bitterness.

I understand Iberian pigs, sometimes crossbred with Duroc, can eat acorns that would be too high in tannins for other breeds.

A trendy way to thin oils here in California is to mix them with wood alcohol (methanol) and process them with a small amount of lye or similar, in a process called transesterification. It's mostly a way of making diesel fuel here, but I bet it would make for better lamp oil than just mixing.

I wonder if there are medium-to-large-scale colliers (charcoal burners) near you that might be a source of raw wood alcohol? Distillers also produce methanol and other toxic alcohols as a byproduct of making whiskey (and presumably also mescal): you might ask a local distiller for fractions of liquor that come through the still just before and just after the good stuff, if it would otherwise be thrown away. Methanol is in the "heads" (boils at a lower temperature than ethanol), but the "tails" or "fusil oils" (boiling temperature between ethanol and water) would also work for transesterification.

Wikipedia says ricin is removed from castor oil by cold-pressing and filtering, which sounds similar to the way bitterness is removed from olive oil: it would never dissolve in the oil, so removing watery droplets is enough. But Wikipedia also warns that the seed harvest can be very dangerous (the phrase "permanent nerve damage" was mentioned), so make sure you talk to someone who knows what they're doing before you pick any.
 
                                  
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Thanks Joel,

I know a "tequila" (not allowed to call it tequila in our state) distiller just five minutes away, "mezcal" a bit farther away. Thanks for the tip.

Never heard of there being a danger to picking the beans and haven't had a problem yet (have done so to prepare a pesticide), but certainly will start asking. Thanks again...

george anna
 
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