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Saturday, November 21, 2009

Acorn Class

Today I went to Stephen Nix's house for an acorn class. There were only five others besides me and Stephen, which was nice because it was a more intimate class. He started off by showing us how to identify common oak trees in the Sacramento region, and we focused on two main ones, Interior Live Oak (Quercus wislizeni) which has the best protein and oil production for oil expelling, but high tannin. The other one is the Valley oak (Quercus lobata), which is the one found most often in the EG area. It has low tannin and so is very edible without long leaching periods, but it doesn't provide good oil.


Stephen had used the oil expeller to make about a 1/4 cup of acorn oil which he used to make us some popcorn. It was GREAT. Then we also made acorn/wheat flour tortillas for lunch.

All in all we learned a good deal, although I'll need to do a bit more studying...also I want to find more acorns as I made the mistake of drying them in too high heat so they were bascially baked, which binds the tannin to the acorn skin. Next time I need to just air dry them or dry them in the dehyrator under really low heat so it's mainly air dried. You dry them for 4-8 hours, crack them open with a hammer or whatever, and then you can grind up the meat and then leach as needed. He's supposed to send the info he's collected also, although I have most of it already.

I still can't use my oil expeller until I figure out what to attach it to. We have the old table in the garage that might work, but we'll see. Hopefully by summer.

Meanwhile, the lettuce in the backyard is growing great, the peas are looking better, the potatoes have me wondering how many potatos are under the soil line now, and the broccoli is doing great. I'm so impressed and wish I had grown fall/winter vegies long ago!

We also learned about the pine nuts, how they are right out there on grey pine trees. Which are found all over the place. Once the cones are dry you can just drop the cone into a bag from waistheight and all the pine nuts will fly out! then just take off the shell and eat. Very very good!!!

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