Sweetie and I took part in a wonderful outdoor seminar and nature walk earlier today. Led by a local Wintu elder, we learned about the acorn from harvest to food source. We were invited to take part in grinding the acorns on a stone with some of the same materials the natives would have used.
Once ground, the acorn meat was put into a jar with hot water to soak over night to help leach out the natural tannins. The following day, the liquid would be drained out but reserved for use as a Poison Oak remedy. The acorns after two consecutive days of soaking, would eventually be ground to a flour and then used in cooking.
The Wintu elder brought several dishes to share with us that he had prepared: acorn candy (roughly ground acorns combined with honey and molasses), acorn muffins (acorn flour with Oak ashes substituted for baking soda), and an acorn bread. To accompany the breads, he also had butter, local honey (which he preached of its natural healing abilities – in lieu of hydrogen peroxide), blackberry jelly, and manzanita syrup. In addition, he had prepared a White Fir and Honey tea.
Everything was very tasty – though not as rich and smooth as what you would buy in a store. After the talk, the elder led a short walk to point out to us some of the native plants and to share with us their uses for food and/or medicinal purposes. I was proud that most of the plants and their uses we already knew. I know I could certainly survive if circumstances forced me to live without the comforts we’ve come to rely upon.
Submitted to the Handbook of Nature Study Outdoor Hour Challenges November Carnival.