• Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
permaculture forums growies critters building homesteading energy monies kitchen purity ungarbage community wilderness fiber arts art permaculture artisans regional education experiences global resources the cider press projects digital market permies.com private forums all forums
this forum made possible by our volunteer staff, including ...
master stewards:
  • Nicole Alderman
  • r ranson
  • paul wheaton
  • Anne Miller
  • Mike Jay
  • Jocelyn Campbell
stewards:
  • Devaka Cooray
  • Burra Maluca
  • Joseph Lofthouse
garden masters:
  • Dave Burton
  • Greg Martin
gardeners:
  • Mike Barkley
  • Shawn Klassen-Koop
  • Pearl Sutton

Edibility of Acorns  RSS feed

 
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Oh! That makes total sense!!! I'll try it today.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Now that the acorns are really dropping, it's easier to leave the questionable ones. Hiking around with 2 buckets turned out to be too cumbersome on my rocky sloped land.

I like to take my dog with me just in case I run in to any wild animals. It hasn't happened yet and often have to call him back when he disappears to explore on his own. There are 2 downsides to bringing him along. He seems to enjoy pooping where I'm picking, yucko. The second thing I noticed for the first time today. He was hanging around and in my way and I started to hear cracking sounds only to discover he was cracking open the acorns and eating them!
 
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I am glad to hear that our dog is not the only one eating acorns.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Cj Verde wrote:I will try my best not to dwell on the fact that 100 lbs of locally grown dried corn is $13. The corn isn't organic though and for the acorns no land was tilled or fertilized.
About 85 more lbs to go.



So I do really need to flip that $13 on it's head! 100 lbs of non-organic pig food $26. I think 100 lbs of organic is double that! And this is way beyond organic (though admittedly probably a little light on protein).

Now here's the real kicker. I was at the supermarket to day & they didn't have acorn flour but they did have almond flour at $10/lb. 100 lbs of acorns yields 50 lbs of flour so retail price = $500. There, that's better! True, I haven't turned any into flour yet. I think that'll be a winter time / movie watching activity. Most of it wont get turned into flour though. I'd really like to have enough to finish a boar I plan to put in the freezer around the middle of February. Couple hundred lbs?

I've collected 105 lbs so far but only 75 lbs are sound. Two 5 gallon buckets filled to the top. I need to switch to a larger container.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Cj Verde wrote:
I've collected 105 lbs so far but only 75 lbs are sound. Two 5 gallon buckets filled to the top. I need to switch to a larger container.



Make sure you lay them to dry otherwise they might spoil.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I was going to ask how people are processing their acorns for storage but I forgot.

My procedure is to do the float test and feed those to the pigs right away. I know it's not perfect but it's better than looking at them individually. I did crack open one good looking floater this morning and it actually was bad. Then I put them on cookie sheets and put the oven on at 250° for 20 minutes. I have a commercial size oven and with 3 sheet pans I can process 15 lbs at a time. Today I did 2 batches. 30 lbs is quite respectable. When they're on the cookie sheet in one layer I can pick out some sketchy looking ones fairly easily. The best & biggest go in 1/2 gallon ball jars to eventually be made into flour.

If I was going to do this outside I'd have to build some kind of dryer to keep animals out and to protect against rain.

How do you dry yours, Adrien?
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Right now I lay them on the floor in the corner of the garage only one deep. I will wait a few weeks and probably put them in a basket so that they can continue to dry later.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Here's an interesting - though old - article on acorn raised pork and in 2008 a bushel of acorns was $50-60! Of course they don't say where you buy a bushel of acorns from. Maybe in the radio interview linked in the article.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I heard that there are aggregator for acorns that are used in the nursery industry. Maybe that is where the price comes from.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
15 lbs of acorns. Awesome.


Two 5 gallon pails are filled up. Guess I need another feed bin.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm starting to read evidence that 20 minutes at 250° isn't really enough drying for long term storage. Is there a way to tell if they are dry enough?
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Ugh! Sure enough as I was pouring acorns from the oldest 5 gallon bucket, some of the acorns from the top half of the bucket were noticeably moist and as I got to the lower third I did see some mold. It's way to hot to fire up the wood stove & I don't want to use too much propane to dehydrate them fully. Also, not sure if I should toss some the old batch to the pigs and start fresh or try to redry the moister ones.

I'll ponder as I forage for more acorns but thoughts from others would be appreciated.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would just spread them on the ground and let them dry. Most likely, the mold is just on the surface and the nut inside is fine. That is my guess.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Adrien Lapointe wrote:I would just spread them on the ground and let them dry. Most likely, the mold is just on the surface and the nut inside is fine. That is my guess.



OK great, I hadn't thought about that (mold just on surface). I guess I could crack a few open to see what they look like.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Cj Verde wrote: Is there a way to tell if they are dry enough?



Nature's Garden by Samuel Thayer finally arrived via InterLibrary Loan. He says that acorns are dry enough to store when you crack them open and the acorns are shrunken and hard. 30 minutes at 250 and another 30 at 150 still doesn't achieve that result! The 150 lbs I have stored doesn't seem to be in danger of molding so I wonder how long they'll last? I've got them in the house ATM but they may be better off in an unheated cabin.

Meanwhile... I've put out a request for apple & acorns on our local Town Forum & have got a few responses. One guy says he's got enough acorns to feed all the deer in Vermont. So my real challenge is storage. It's not even cold enough to get the wood stove going. I'll be mulling over plans for a rocket dryer this winter.

I bought one of those roller picker uppers which works OK but picks up lots of caps and leaves so I'm not positive it wouldn't be easier to sit down and collect that way since there are so many on the ground.
 
Posts: 279
Location: Nauvoo, AL
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've did a few acorns this year. The glueten free people got nuts for them

http://www.acornflour.org/
http://www.acorno.com/real-acorn-flour
http://buyacornflour.com/about.php

I've went to a few primitive skills gatherings this year and acorns came up in a bow making class I was in.
This is what I learned.
The first acorns that drop are a majority wormy acorns and the native americans would burn the ground under the trees after this drop to kill off grubs and insects. This would also rid the ground of any debris that would make harvesting the acorns difficult.

Acorn grubs sautéd in a little butter are pretty tasty. FYI

The trees were "owned" by individual families not just the entire tribe and past down from
generation to generation.
The simple act of leaning a log on the main trunk of the tree was enough to claim it.

 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Grace wrote:
The trees were "owned" by individual families not just the entire tribe and past down from
generation to generation.
The simple act of leaning a log on the main trunk of the tree was enough to claim it.



I also read that in William Bryant Logan's book, Oak: The Frame of Civilization. According to the book, this is what the California tribes were doing. Some trees were so big and productive that families would each own branches. I am not sure if this was a common practice elsewhere in the world where acorns were consumed.

I highly recommend this book for anyone interested in acorns, he talks a lot about the history of the usage of acorns as food.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Jay Grace wrote:
http://www.acornflour.org/
...
The first acorns that drop are a majority wormy acorns and the native americans would burn the ground under the trees after this drop to kill off grubs and insects. This would also rid the ground of any debris that would make harvesting the acorns difficult.



I just learned about that wormy first drop in Nature's Garden. That explains why I had so many early floaters.

So they are selling 50 lbs of acorns for $100 at acornflour.org. Finally a better price reference than 50 lbs of corn for $6.50!
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
That is cool to see a price. I bet you they buy from foragers.

$2/lbs for whole acorns and ~$30/lbs for flour.

I would be interested to see their process.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Well it turns out their not too far from either of us! They're based out of Vermont.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
yeah, that is what I saw. It is a bit of a drive across the Adirondaks, but I might try to go visit in the winter (when it is not so busy) and figure out how they process them.
 
Jay Grace
Posts: 279
Location: Nauvoo, AL
14
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I've gathered about 50gallons of acorns this year.
But it doesn't take long with chestnut acorns as big as your thumb.

I've also gathered 20galllons of Chinese chestnuts.

When I first started shucking the acorns I was trying to "peel" them with a knife. FYI that's the wrong way.

Smash them with a rock on a board is the best way. Make sure the point of the acorn is pointing down on the board.

By the way drying them with heat changes the flavor of the finished acorn flour.
Hot water leeching also changes the flour and doing this method the flour/ meal won't stick together.

Cold water leeching the flour will stick together and has a different taste.

IMO sun dried and cold water leeched yields the best tasting.

But try small batches all different ways to get your own opinion.

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Anyone have any idea how long it takes to dry cracked acorns compared to uncracked? I imagine it'd speed things up quite a bit. Possibly even enough to justify that DaveBuilt cracker!

This is for storing as animal feed, FYI.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I found that it is really hard to crack undried acorns without smashing them if not using a cracker and somewhat hard to crack them with the Davebilt cracker (for white oak acorns). I wonder if you could start drying them and then put them in a well aerated container.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Arrgggh. More complications! More experimentation.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I would be curious to see how the Korean dry the acorns. Perhaps drying the acorns en masse is similar to drying other nuts. I wonder what big nut producers do.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I did a quick search and found this Document that talks about drying pistachios which I think are somewhat similar to acorns in the sense that the shell is not too thick.

Here is an excerpt about air drying:

"A forced-air draft oven or a rotary-screen drier can be used. The time required to dry the nuts to about 5 percent moisture depends on the temperature used. At 160F it takes about 10 hours. Higher temperature (up to 200F) will reduce drying time [...]"

So that makes me think of two things.

1. One could use a solar dehydrator.
2. A device to measure the moisture content would be useful.

The document also talks about storage and says that a relative humidity of 65% is ideal and a temperature of 32F can make the nuts keep for 2 years. I am not sure how this translates for the acorns. Apparently acorn caches have been discovered when digging near river banks with still good acorns many years afterwards.

 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Adrien Lapointe wrote:t 160F it takes about 10 hours. Higher temperature (up to 200F) will reduce drying time [...]"
...
2. A device to measure the moisture content would be useful.



I'm starting to feed the pigs the 26 gallons I have in the house because they're starting to get a little moldy. The pigs are choosing acorns over apples, FYI. I'm hoping the batch I stored in an unheated building fare better.

I'm drying at 150 for an hour or two, plus leaving them in the oven overnight which is probably at 125F.

As for moisture content, I haven't tried this yet but all you have to do is weigh the acorns before you put them in the oven and then weigh them after. We don't know the starting moisture content but it's a way to measure how much moisture has been driven off.
 
pollinator
Posts: 4339
Location: Anjou ,France
240
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
After reading all this one begins to wonder at all the effort and cost Surley the Native americans did not roast them for hours like this nor do pigs eating them in the wild worry about such things .

David
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I think the natives would have spread them to dry in the sun and made sure no rodents stole them.
 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Adrien Lapointe wrote:I think the natives would have spread them to dry in the sun and made sure no rodents stole them.



The native on the west coast did that but I've got my doubts about East cost! I have read about them burying them in caches - maybe that works better. I've got the same issue with processing & storing apples. I think the colonialists would put apples in a barrel and then sink the barrel in a lake where it stored airtight at less than 40F.

I may be conceptualizing this all wrong but I want to replace dried corn/ feed concentrate with perennials from my property. OTOH, I can't sit around and watch them dry.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I heard the same about the apples and I remember reading about acorns being buried. I would have to do some research. Maybe it is worth trying to store them like carrots in damp sands.
 
Posts: 45
Location: Fort Wayne, Indiana
8
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
My guess is that an acorn in a shell even at 250 degrees isn't going to dry very fast in an oven. I suspect it might dry the shell well and give them a good start though. I've only seen acorns processed by shelling, leaching, then drying.

The rest of this assumes you're trying to dry them with the shell on like the picture of the trays in the oven.

To dry about anything all you need is air flow. Warm air works better but just air flowing easily around what you want to dry is enough. I've dried acorns (in the shell) just having them spread out on a sheet of plywood in the garage. (and 2 days trying to trap the chipmunk who moved in during the afternoon the door was left open while bringing them in and spreading them out.) If you have a lot to dry I would think putting a few pieces of wood on the ply wood to support another sheet of plywood above for another layer maybe 4 or 6 inches above would be enough but I've never done that. If you had a few layers letting a box fan blow over them a while now and then might help get more air movement in the center.

You could do the same thing hanging them in onion bags from the ceiling. (A rather open weave burlap might work to.) Don't pack the bags tightly though, maybe only about 1/2 full? You want them loose and airy, not packed tight from the weigh of the nuts above. Once a day or so you'll want to take your hand and press up from the bottom of the bag to stir them up good, moving the center ones to the outside, if they are packed in to tight and heavy you couldn't stir them up easily. If you did it this way you would want to let them sit spread out in a dry place for a day to a few days first to get them partially dried. If there is no chance of rain letting them sit out in the sun on a dry surface a few days where the wind can blow over them would speed up the process. (As long as the critters don't steal them all.) You basically want the shell fairly dry, if the shell is still really moist from laying on the ground and you pack them together they might mildew if your not stirring them up often. (I have cured, hulled black walnuts this way.)

If you were trying to dry a lot of them and quicker you could probably make a tall box with a wire floor and a box fan forcing air through it. If it was a really large quantity maybe a long box with a box fan on either end one pushing air one pulling. Here is an article on a grain drying bin meant for thousands of bushels of corn with no heat. http://www.extension.umn.edu/agriculture/corn/harvest/natural-air-corn-drying/

Grains dry in the field just fine down in the mid 20% range. It can be cool and overcast but as long as there is air movement they will dry, albeit slower than if it was hot and sunny. When you see a corn field left to stand with only the end rows harvested, this is usually to allow more air flow through the rest of the field to help it dry quicker. Some people dry lumber in the woods by getting it up of the ground and putting a roof of some sort over it to keep direct rain off of it, leaving it in the elements other than that so long as it has good air flow it will dry. Acorns laying on the ground pull to much moisture from the ground and their surroundings to dry very well. Get them in a dry spot with air flow and they will dry.

As to how Native Americans did it, I've read that one way was to build large stone circles maybe 3 feet high and up to several feet across, maybe bigger. These were built in water where the water level would stay above the rocks. I've read there were large versions built in lakes and smaller versions in deep enough creeks and rivers that didn't flow fast enough to wash out around the rocks. Once filled they would take woven mats made from small saplings like willow for baskets and cover the acorns so they couldn't wash out, then cover the mats with rocks to hold them there and keep animals out of them. I've also read they would sometimes just place woven baskets of acorns in the water and cover with rocks. They evidently stayed fine stored under water, pouring them into the water to fill the circle let the bad acorns float away, and the water leached them out while they were stored. The stone circles stayed there year to year, so it couldn't get much easier or quicker. Gather nuts, dump nuts in the storage spot, cover them, when you come back to use them they are ready to go. This allowed them to move around the general area quickly gathering and storing a lot of acorns. I would imagine they could probably put away more acorns than they would care to eat this way in a short span of time.









 
Cj Sloane
pollinator
Posts: 3738
Location: Vermont, off grid for 24 years!
91
bee books chicken dog duck fungi solar trees
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Chris Knipstein wrote:My guess is that an acorn in a shell even at 250 degrees isn't going to dry very fast in an oven. I suspect it might dry the shell well and give them a good start though.



At 250° many acorns on the bottom rack crack open which might be OK but it's a little more like cooking/roasting them.

I have a 100 gallon stock tank I could experiment with but the acorns would probably be frozen in a block of ice just when I want to bulk feed to my pig!

Ultimately, I'll have to build some kind of dryer and/or shell them to make the drying go quicker.
 
pollinator
Posts: 1488
Location: northern California
96
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
For my own use, usually I clip the acorns in half and quarters with a good pair of hand pruners. Then the nut meats come out easily, any wormy or otherwise bad quarters are sorted out, and the rest spread to dry hard in the sun. I store them in jugs like this. They will keep a year or more. (though species vary in oil content....ours are white oak group and thus low oil.....higher oil nuts might go rancid faster). When I want a batch I grind them and leach the flour.
I've been feeding them to my chickens for nearly a year now. I tried to simply dry the whole acorns, in shell, on sheets and tarps for a while and then store them in cardboard boxes. Some did well like this....usually those that sat out in the sun (we'd had a hot dry fall) longer than the others, but quite a lot went moldy (which makes them not good for chickens, but OK for soldier flies....which then feed the chickens). So this year I'm trying to clip the whole crop in half at least, and then dry them to try to get the moisture content way down before I try to store them.
Also while I was harvesting and processing the acorns I would have them in buckets, and would frequently pour them from one bucket to another. The weevil grubs accumulate in the bottom of the buckets and are a snack for the chickens.....but they will escape from baskets and cardboard boxes.
 
Posts: 198
14
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
From eat the weeds it says that. The larger the cap the more tannic acid.
 
gardener
Posts: 1028
Location: Northern Italy
23
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
If this hasn't been posted, this is a good place for it. Huge background.
http://oldeuropeanculture.blogspot.it/2014/11/acorns-in-archaeology.html
 
Posts: 59
Location: North Carolina
7
  • Likes 2
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
I'm determined to make acorns a staple - the abundance of acorns in my region is absurd. White oaks are almost a weed here, and in some areas they make up 1/2 to 3/4 of all trees in a forest, for acres. Huge nuts too - 1.25" or longer is typical. During my harvesting spree, I've learned a few things that I wanted to share here.

1) The float test didn't work for me at all. According to the float test, a good 9/10 of the acorns I've gathered are bad. Actually opening these 'bad' acorns reveals a perfectly healthy nut meat inside.

2) Some trees begin dropping their acorns green. These nuts were healthy inside and dried just fine, just like brown nuts.

3) The blotchy color patterns on the outer shell usually meant nothing; I pitched a number of these before cracking some open and was surprised to find a healthy nutmeat inside. My advice, is that if you aren't sure what a color/pattern means, crack a few open and find out. I began doing this on a tree by tree basis. Sunken spots on the shell were usually bad, no matter the tree, with a rotting nutmeat inside.

4) Some trees dropped their acorns with a cap on, and these were totally fine, but the cap removal adds extra labor. The vast majority here drop without a cap.

5) Acorn weevil bore holes, the tiny holes used by the adults for feeding and egg laying, are hard to spot. The labor of trying to hand grade them as you're gathering quickly becomes prohibitive. What I'm doing now, is loading acorns into plastic mesh bags and hanging these in the shed, then waiting for the larva to bore out on their own. They instinctually go down, to bore into the dirt, and fall out of the mesh bags. The magic number seems to be a week - meaning it takes that long for all acorn weevil larva to leave a batch of acorns. Finally, I sort these acorns and remove the nuts with the much larger and more noticeable exit holes.

I highly advise against bringing recently harvested acorns into your house, unless you have some trick for dealing with all the grubs.

6) I haven't found a single white oak producing acorns that I would want to eat raw.

I haven't been able to compare white and black oaks. For all my foraging, I've come across just two black oaks, and only one black oak acorn.

7) In case it wasn't obvious, wear head protection. Please learn from my bruises.

Happy harvesting.
 
Adrien Lapointe
steward
Posts: 3556
Location: Kingston, Canada (USDA zone 5a)
379
chicken dog food preservation forest garden fungi tiny house purity trees woodworking
  • Likes 1
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator

Dylan Mulder wrote:
1) The float test didn't work for me at all. According to the float test, a good 9/10 of the acorns I've gathered are bad. Actually opening these 'bad' acorns reveals a perfectly healthy nut meat inside.



That is my experience too. The float test does not work.

Dylan Mulder wrote:
4) Some trees dropped their acorns with a cap on, and these were totally fine, but the cap removal adds extra labor. The vast majority here drop without a cap.



I found that the ones that drop with the cap that is easily removed are fine, but the ones where you have to pry the cap off are not good.


Dylan Mulder wrote:
5) Acorn weevil bore holes, the tiny holes used by the adults for feeding and egg laying, are hard to spot. The labor of trying to hand grade them as you're gathering quickly becomes prohibitive. What I'm doing now, is loading acorns into plastic mesh bags and hanging these in the shed, then waiting for the larva to bore out on their own. They instinctually go down, to bore into the dirt, and fall out of the mesh bags. The magic number seems to be a week - meaning it takes that long for all acorn weevil larva to leave a batch of acorns. Finally, I sort these acorns and remove the nuts with the much larger and more noticeable exit holes.



Hang them over a bucket, let them dry and feed them to the chickens!
 
gardener
Posts: 2284
Location: Cincinnati, Ohio,Price Hill 45205
145
forest garden trees urban
  • Mark post as helpful
  • send pies
  • Quote
  • Report post to moderator
Do the acorns need to be leached to be good chicken feed?
I am thinking not,as plenty of birds eat acorns in the wild.
Does leaching remove the oil from acorns?
That would extend their shelf life but the oil is a valuable constituent.
Placing quartered acorns in containers of water seems like a way to process and store them.
For chicken feed,wormy acorns are not a problem,nor are the shells,so maybe grind or crush the acorns and mix with water ?
Would a bucket of such a mix keep?
Should we worry about botulism?

What can one do with tannin filled water?
Dyes?
 
Because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind - Seuss. Tiny ad:
permaculture bootcamp - learn permaculture through a little hard work
https://permies.com/wiki/bootcamp
  • Post Reply Bookmark Topic Watch Topic
  • New Topic
Boost this thread!