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NAME: Chinquapin oak
SPECIES / FAMILY: Quercus Muehlenbergii / Fagaceae
OTHER COMMON NAME(S):
CONDITIONS: sun-partial shade
COMMENT: Not to be confused with the Chinquapin Chestnut (2,3) and rare in PA(7). Seed - contains very little bitter tannin, it is quite sweet and rather pleasant eating, tastes nice when baked in an oven. Any bitter seeds can be leached by thoroughly washing the seed in running water though many minerals will also be lost. Either the whole seed can be used or the seed can be dried and ground it into a powder. It can take several days or even weeks to properly leach whole seeds. Roasted seed is a coffee substitute.(1) For more preparation ideas, see #8 below. To process them, first put them in water and discard any that float.
NUTRITION/MEDICINAL: The chinquapin oak is especially known for its sweet and palatable acorns. Indeed, the nuts contained inside of the thin shell are among the sweetest of any oak, with an excellent taste even when eaten raw, providing an excellent source of food for both wildlife and people.(3) Antiemetic; Astringent. An infusion of the bark has been used in the treatment of vomiting. Any galls produced on the tree are strongly astringent and can be used in the treatment of haemorrhages, chronic diarrhoea, dysentery etc.(1)
OTHER USES: Fuel; Repellent; Tannin; Wood.(1)
SOURCE LINKS (may include nutritional and medicinal info, plus other uses):
6. http://wildfoodshomegarden.com/Oak.html (good summary of various oaks)
8. https://www.almanac.com/content/how-prepare-and-cook-acorns How to prepare acorns
HOW TO PREPARE ACORNS: https://www.almanac.com/content/how-prepare-and-cook-acorns
Have you ever wondered if the squirrels might be onto something? In fact, they are! Acorns are extremely nutritious and readily available in nature, making them a healthy addition to many recipes. Here’s how to prepare and cook acorns!
Why acorns? They are incredibly nutritious, offering healthy levels of carbohydrates, protein, and fiber. Surprisingly, they are also a good source of Vitamins A and C.
Plus, they have a wonderful rich, nutty taste. Also, why not? It’s fun to forage and try making something adventurous.
Acorns have been a staple of diets around the world and across cultures, including among some Native Americans.
While most folks use acorns to make a nutrient-rich, nutty-flavored flour, you can also eat acorns as roasted nuts (they are a lot like chestnuts). See more ideas below!
Acorns come from oak trees, which can be found across North America. Oak trees are easily identifiable—they’re the ones with all the acorns around them! Jokes aside, oaks have fairly distinctive leaves and bark; look up which species of oak trees are common in your area to know exactly what signs to look for.
Acorns are typically harvested between September and November, when they fall from the trees and become easily accessible to deer, squirrels, and resourceful humans.
When gathering acorns, look for brown, fully mature acorns that still have their caps, as those without caps are more susceptible to infestation by worms and other critters.
Green acorns are not yet mature and shouldn’t be used. If you’re willing to
wait, consider harvesting acorns this year and storing them in a cool, dry place
until next fall, when they’ll be fully dried and easier to work with.
Acorns contain bitter-tasting tannins, so you must prepare, treat and cook the nuts before you eat them. It sounds like a pain but it’s really not that difficult.
To avoid rotting, it’s very important that the acorns dry fully. Spread tannin-free acorns to dry on cookie sheets in a warm place. If it is hot out, lay the cookie sheets in the sun. Or, you could put them in an oven set to “warm.” You can also put the acorns in a dehydrator set on low heat.
Making acorn flour isn’t the only way you can enjoy acorns. Here’s how to roast the nuts:
When partially dry, coarse grind a few acorns at a time in a blender. Spread the ground acorns to dry on cookie sheets, then grind again in a blender. Repeat until you are left with a flour- or cornmeal-like substance.
You can also freeze your fresh acorn meal. Store dried flour in jars in the fridge.