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Re: [fukuoka_farming] acorns

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  • Robert Monie
    Hi Les and Jamie, The Native Americans used to let streams wash through the pounded acorn meat for a couple of weeks, until the tannins were thoroughly washed
    Message 1 of 14 , Dec 17, 2003
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      Hi Les and Jamie,

      The Native Americans used to let streams wash through the pounded acorn meat for a couple of weeks, until the tannins were thoroughly washed out or diluted. Raw acorns can bring livestock overfeeding on them to a quick and unpleasant death by severe ulceration of the gastrointestinal tract and painful shutdown of the kidneys, often accompanied by profuse bleeing from the nose. Acorns from the red oak are the worst, but even acorns from the white oak must be boiled for at least an hour and the water poured off several times before they are fit for human consumption.

      My sympathies are with Francis Bacon who wrote "Acorns were good till bread was found." Our ancestors carefully "bred" (excuse the pun) major toxins out of barley and spelt so they could be simply prepared without the cook having to leach poisons out of each batch. Some people buy frozen soybeans, and, after thawing, eat them raw. Though soybeans are still amazingly complex chemical mixtures of nutrients and anti-nutrients, their toxicity is low enough to permit this, thanks again to our ancestors. Somehow, our ancestors slipped up when it comes to the acorn; they left it filled with unesculent concentarations of tannins that at the very least can cause gastic distress and at the worse can kill.

      Personally I'll eat the low-toxic and prodigiously nutritious figs, millet, buckwheat, cabbage, blueberries, and peas and leave the acorns to whatever member of the animal kingdom (if any) is tough enough to eat them with impunity.

      Bob Monie--eating a low-toxic bananna (no leaching required; just peel off the skin) in
      south Louisiana.



      les landeck <offeringsoftheland@...> wrote:
      Hi Jamie,

      It may be a good idea not to eat any more acorns,
      until you read up on them. handled and or prepared
      incorrectly will poison you. the Native Americans in
      my area used acorns as a staple. but in speaking with
      them about the acorn bread the first question was who
      prepared the acorns. it's not an easy job and it must
      be done right, eating raw is out of the question, that
      bitterness is the tannin that must be removed. if you
      search Pomo,Miwok and dig through their should be some
      information on acorns.

      stay well Les








      --- jamie <jamie@...> wrote:
      > Hello everyone, I've spent some of the last
      monththere
      > have been many that have been ferociously bitter
      > there have equally been
      > those not far from palatable and at least 2 trees
      > where the acorn can be
      > eaten out of hand where the taste is not disimilar
      > to chestnuts (perhaps
      > without quite the same sweetness). The main species
      > are Quercus ilex and Q.
      > kermes, with Q.ilex the most palatable.
      >
      > I'm wondering if others are using their own native
      > acorns and how they
      > prepare and use them. I'm also wondering if there is
      > a change in taste
      > dependent upon the yearly climatic factors or
      > whether taste (especially
      > sweetness and tannin content remain fairly
      > constant). If anyone can point me
      > to online information or other books discussing
      > acorns I'd appreciate it.
      >
      > Jamie
      > Souscayrous
      >
      >

      > tasting acorns from the
      > many oaks in this area inspired by Russel Smith's
      > 'Tree Crops'. While



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    • sinniss@shaw.ca
      There is but one oak species native to my area, (Quercus garryana). I was once told that the acorns are quite sweet and mild, as acorns go, so I ve tried them
      Message 2 of 14 , Dec 17, 2003
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        There is but one oak species native to my area, (Quercus garryana). I
        was once told that the acorns are quite sweet and mild, as acorns go, so
        I've tried them on occasion, two or three at a time. They do seem
        relatively mild, but only compared to other acorns. Aboriginal people
        here ate them. The acorns can even be eaten raw if you don't mind bitter
        food and you don't eat too many, but the usual practice was to steam,
        boil, or roast the acorns for a very long time to make them more
        palatable. Further south, in Oregon and California, there were more
        elaborate leaching methods. I've heard people in other parts of the
        world used treatment with mineral clay, with the same purpose of
        removing tannins. If nobody else on the list has it to hand I can dig up
        the reference, but I haven't tried those methods myself, so the
        information would be second or third hand. I'd try Bill Mollison's book
        on the topic of food preparation (if memory is correct, I think it was
        called something like "The Big Book of Fermentation")

        I understand that oaks vary quite a bit in their tannin content, even
        within a species (Jamie, that would be why you found some trees better
        than others). Breeding from these "sweet" oaks would be quite a project,
        though, partly because there are many different genes controlling tannin
        content and partly because oak tree generations are so long. Not so much
        that our ancestors "slipped up", but that the project is a bit beyond
        the usual human time horizons.

        Acorn flour is apparently higher in fats and protein than grains, though
        I don't have anything on the amino acid profile. Quite tasty, too. One
        day I may try making some, but it sounds like quite a lot of work for
        what you get.

        Stephen

        jamie wrote:

        > Hello everyone, I've spent some of the last month tasting acorns from
        > the
        > many oaks in this area inspired by Russel Smith's 'Tree Crops'. While
        > there
        > have been many that have been ferociously bitter there have equally
        > been
        > those not far from palatable and at least 2 trees where the acorn can
        > be
        > eaten out of hand where the taste is not disimilar to chestnuts
        > (perhaps
        > without quite the same sweetness). The main species are Quercus ilex
        > and Q.
        > kermes, with Q.ilex the most palatable.
        >
        > I'm wondering if others are using their own native acorns and how they
        >
        > prepare and use them. I'm also wondering if there is a change in taste
        >
        > dependent upon the yearly climatic factors or whether taste
        > (especially
        > sweetness and tannin content remain fairly constant). If anyone can
        > point me
        > to online information or other books discussing acorns I'd appreciate
        > it.
        >
        > Jamie
        > Souscayrous
        >
        >
        >
        > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        >
        >
        >
        > ---------------------------------------------------------------
        > Yahoo! Groups Links
        >
        > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
        > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fukuoka_farming/
        >
        > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
        > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
        >
        > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
        > Service.
        >
      • jamie
        Hello everyone, thanks for all the replies on acorns. I d not thought acorns were toxic, just sometimes extremely bitter. Russell Smith talks about people in
        Message 3 of 14 , Dec 18, 2003
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          Hello everyone, thanks for all the replies on acorns.

          I'd not thought acorns were toxic, just sometimes extremely bitter. Russell
          Smith talks about people in Spain and Portugal eating acorns out of hand
          from the trees without mention of any adverse effects, even relating that
          they were sold alongside sweet chestnuts at markets.

          Perhaps the confusion here is due to two distinct misapprehensions: firstly,
          the role of tannin; tannin is not toxic to humans, especially as this is the
          bitter element in certain foodstuffs and therefore makes food of high tannin
          content unpalatable - it is the bitterness found in tea that has stewed too
          long. It is soluble in water, which is no doubt why people leach tannin-rich
          acorns before preparation for food, thereby making acorns a simple and
          abundant food for humans. Secondly, the different oak species; as mentioned
          there is great diversity within the same species and therefore between
          species there will no doubt be even greater diversity which might also
          entail the possibilities of other substances that might be toxic. Therefore,
          as with all wild foods, it is reccommended to taste only a small amount of
          unknown toxicity before preparing larger quantities for consumption. I've
          probably had 10 acorns in one day with no ill effects, but then these were
          not bitter at all.

          My interest in acorns is that Q. ilex is the local climax hardwood (in
          association with box, Buxus semprevirens) and therefore if you leave the
          land to itself it will eventually pass through successive stages of plants
          until finally the oak/box create a 'stable' forest. Imagine selecting and
          scattering only the most palatable acorns across this region, which is only
          now beginning the succession back to forest because the herds of sheep and
          goats no longer graze the higher hills and ridges, and within 20 years you
          would have a staple food available simply through harvesting the acorns: No
          ploughing, No fertilizers, No pesticides, No pruning, No leaching...through
          only the lightest human intervention (selecting the acorns to scatter) the
          Corbières, Fenouillèdes and the foothills of the Pyrenées could supply a
          large part of France's needs. Of course, this could also be applied to
          other countries in the Mediterannean basin, where Q. ilex is also the climax
          hardwood - but then, I suspect this is exactly what Fukuoka and Panos had in
          mind with their Greenbelt Southern Europe Project!

          Such forests would not only supply food but help establish and stabilise the
          most biodiverse life and bring rain back to these semi-arid lands (as
          Fukuoka says rain falls up from the ground - the reason there is so little
          rain in california is because of the denudation of the native flora,
          revegetate the hills and the rains will return).

          By doing nothing (except scattering seed) we feed ourselves with no effort
          and begin to heal the scars our agriculture has left on nature. And while I
          feel faintly ridiculous sounding, no doubt, like some obsessed Old Testament
          Prophet, this forest regrowth is happening before my eyes at Souscayrous,
          making my attempts at market gardening seem even more insignificant than I
          previously suspected.

          For those interested in such detail here is a nutritional analysis of acorns
          as compared to cornmeal and wheat flour taken from Russell Smith's book
          (note particularly acorns fat content). The percentages below relate to
          acorns (unleached California Valley White Oak), cornmeal and wheat flour
          respectively;

          Water 8.7 12.5 11.5
          Ash 2 1 0.5
          Fat 18.6 1.9 1
          Protein 5.7 9.2 11.4
          Carbohydrate65 74.4 75.4
          Fibre ND 1 0.2
          Tannin 6.63 ND ND

          ND means No Data

          And to finish off my hymn to the acorn here's an old Spanish poem (by
          Wiffens Garcillasso I believe) that suggests the role of acorns in everyday
          life some centuries ago:

          Hast thou forgotten, too,
          Childhood's sweet sports, whence first my passion grew,
          When from the bowery ilex I shook down
          It's autumn fruit which from the crag's high crown
          We tasted, sitting chattering side by side,
          Who climbed trees swinging o'er the hoarse deep tide,
          And poured into thy lap, or at thy feet,
          Their kernel's nuts, sweetest of the sweet.


          Jamie
          Souscayrous


          -----Original Message-----
          From: sinniss@... [mailto:sinniss@...]
          Sent: jeudi 18 décembre 2003 06:21
          To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
          Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] acorns


          There is but one oak species native to my area, (Quercus garryana). I
          was once told that the acorns are quite sweet and mild, as acorns go, so
          I've tried them on occasion, two or three at a time. They do seem
          relatively mild, but only compared to other acorns. Aboriginal people
          here ate them. The acorns can even be eaten raw if you don't mind bitter
          food and you don't eat too many, but the usual practice was to steam,
          boil, or roast the acorns for a very long time to make them more
          palatable. Further south, in Oregon and California, there were more
          elaborate leaching methods. I've heard people in other parts of the
          world used treatment with mineral clay, with the same purpose of
          removing tannins. If nobody else on the list has it to hand I can dig up
          the reference, but I haven't tried those methods myself, so the
          information would be second or third hand. I'd try Bill Mollison's book
          on the topic of food preparation (if memory is correct, I think it was
          called something like "The Big Book of Fermentation")

          I understand that oaks vary quite a bit in their tannin content, even
          within a species (Jamie, that would be why you found some trees better
          than others). Breeding from these "sweet" oaks would be quite a project,
          though, partly because there are many different genes controlling tannin
          content and partly because oak tree generations are so long. Not so much
          that our ancestors "slipped up", but that the project is a bit beyond
          the usual human time horizons.

          Acorn flour is apparently higher in fats and protein than grains, though
          I don't have anything on the amino acid profile. Quite tasty, too. One
          day I may try making some, but it sounds like quite a lot of work for
          what you get.

          Stephen

          jamie wrote:

          > Hello everyone, I've spent some of the last month tasting acorns from
          > the
          > many oaks in this area inspired by Russel Smith's 'Tree Crops'. While
          > there
          > have been many that have been ferociously bitter there have equally
          > been
          > those not far from palatable and at least 2 trees where the acorn can
          > be
          > eaten out of hand where the taste is not disimilar to chestnuts
          > (perhaps
          > without quite the same sweetness). The main species are Quercus ilex
          > and Q.
          > kermes, with Q.ilex the most palatable.
          >
          > I'm wondering if others are using their own native acorns and how they
          >
          > prepare and use them. I'm also wondering if there is a change in taste
          >
          > dependent upon the yearly climatic factors or whether taste
          > (especially
          > sweetness and tannin content remain fairly constant). If anyone can
          > point me
          > to online information or other books discussing acorns I'd appreciate
          > it.
          >
          > Jamie
          > Souscayrous
          >
          >
          >
          > To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          >
          >
          >
          > ---------------------------------------------------------------
          > Yahoo! Groups Links
          >
          > * To visit your group on the web, go to:
          > http://groups.yahoo.com/group/fukuoka_farming/
          >
          > * To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
          > fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com
          >
          > * Your use of Yahoo! Groups is subject to the Yahoo! Terms of
          > Service.
          >


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        • AaronBrachfeld@aol.com
          The dream of acorns as a staple is not new. Many native tribes throughout North America consumed Acorns: Acorn flour, acorn butter, stewed acorns, roasted
          Message 4 of 14 , Dec 18, 2003
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            The dream of acorns as a staple is not new. Many native tribes throughout North America consumed Acorns: Acorn flour, acorn butter, stewed acorns, roasted acorns, etc. etc.

            The only problem with acorns is that they are very hard to mechanically harvest. This is primarily why they have fallen out of favor with many producers.

            --Aaron Brachfeld, Colorado
          • jamie
            Hello Aaron, If I may change what you write slightly: the use of acorns as a staple food is not a dream as the North American Indians showed. The only problem
            Message 5 of 14 , Dec 19, 2003
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              Hello Aaron, If I may change what you write slightly: the use of acorns as a
              staple food is not a dream as the North American Indians showed.

              The only problem with harvesting acorns is when mankind creates an
              environment where 'he' becomes the producer (and not nature, with all the
              paraphenalia of modern farming that that entails) and tries to grow and
              harvest them mechanically.

              Acorns have primarily fallen out of favour because of the dream of
              mechanisation.

              Jamie

              -----Original Message-----
              From: AaronBrachfeld@... [mailto:AaronBrachfeld@...]
              Sent: jeudi 18 décembre 2003 18:36
              To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
              Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] acorns


              The dream of acorns as a staple is not new. Many native tribes throughout
              North America consumed Acorns: Acorn flour, acorn butter, stewed acorns,
              roasted acorns, etc. etc.

              The only problem with acorns is that they are very hard to mechanically
              harvest. This is primarily why they have fallen out of favor with many
              producers.

              --Aaron Brachfeld, Colorado

              To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
              fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com



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            • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
              jamie do you have a nutritional chart for comparaison with chestnut or beech ? did acorn in france was as widelly used as chestnut ? would be interested to
              Message 6 of 14 , Dec 20, 2003
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                jamie
                do you have a nutritional chart for comparaison with chestnut or beech ?

                did acorn in france was as widelly used as chestnut ? would be interested to get some seeds of your sweet acorn.

                jean-claude


                [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
              • jamie
                Hello Jean-Claude, I ll be happy to send you through some of the sweet acorns (taste tested by Anne, my wife, who gave them her seal of approval and she s far
                Message 7 of 14 , Dec 21, 2003
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                  Hello Jean-Claude, I'll be happy to send you through some of the sweet
                  acorns (taste tested by Anne, my wife, who gave them her seal of approval
                  and she's far less zealous in her appreciation of wild foods than I). Let me
                  know your address off-list and I'll send them over to you. Obviously, the
                  offer holds good for anyone else who wants to try some Quercus ilex var.
                  Ballota(?).

                  Below I'm including some details comparing acorns, sweet chestnuts and
                  potatoes from the work of Marc Bonfils. I'm currently working with other
                  members of Association Las Encantadas to put Marc's work up on the internet
                  (the work is currently available in printed form only at no little cost).
                  Most of the work is in French so might be of especial interest to you.

                  acorns chestnuts potatoes
                  water 8.7-44.6 ND ND
                  Carbohydrates 32.7-89.7 40 20
                  Proteins 2.3-8.6 4 1.8-2
                  Fats 1.1-31.3 2.6 0.5
                  tannins 0.1-8.8 ND ND
                  Kcal/100g 265-577 ND ND

                  I'll keep you informed of developments.

                  Jamie



                  -----Original Message-----
                  From: Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry [mailto:instinct@...]
                  Sent: samedi 20 décembre 2003 17:56
                  To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                  Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] acorns



                  jamie
                  do you have a nutritional chart for comparaison with chestnut or beech ?

                  did acorn in france was as widelly used as chestnut ? would be interested
                  to get some seeds of your sweet acorn.

                  jean-claude


                  [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]


                  To unsubscribe from this group, send an email to:
                  fukuoka_farming-unsubscribe@yahoogroups.com




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                • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                  jaimie i don t know your email adress jean-claude [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  Message 8 of 14 , Dec 21, 2003
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                    jaimie i don't know your email adress
                    jean-claude



                    [Non-text portions of this message have been removed]
                  • sinniss@shaw.ca
                    Hello all, I think the oak tree project is a wonderful idea. Some thoughts on this. From recent posts (thanks for these!), it looks as if selecting for
                    Message 9 of 14 , Dec 23, 2003
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                      Hello all,

                      I think the oak tree project is a wonderful idea. Some thoughts on this.

                      From recent posts (thanks for these!), it looks as if selecting for
                      "sweeter" acorns already has taken place, at least in parts of Europe,
                      even though it is over a span of generations (as it would need to be)
                      and the process isn't complete yet. This is good news, because the
                      project needs that head-start.

                      The difficulty, as I understand it, is that crossing two "sweet" oaks
                      doesn't necessarily give you more sweet acorns from the next generation.
                      Suppose there are a dozen different genes for tannin production. Unless
                      the two trees in question are sweet because of the same gene, then when
                      you cross them you are back to the standard level of tannin production
                      (tree A was sweet because of it's unusual on gene 3, tree B was sweet
                      because it is unusual on gene 8; when you cross them you get a tree that
                      is typical at both genes). If I'm not explaining this well, perhaps one
                      of the plant-breeding people on this list can say it a better. The point
                      is that if you stay at it for a large number of oak generations you will
                      get there, but it's not like breeding for non-bitter almonds (cyanide
                      content in almonds is governed by fewer genes, or maybe just one). Ten
                      plus years per generation of oaks, so this is a long term project. Worth
                      it, though, in the end, and besides, even the less desireable acorns can
                      be eaten if they are leached first.

                      Tannins are indeed harmful in quantity, like anything else, and (though
                      I've not seen it myself) it is possible make yourself sick with too many
                      bitter acorns. Shuts down the digestive stystem, and hard on the kidneys
                      too. That unpleasant taste is a warning worth heeding. Yes, some dilute
                      tannin in your tea or your greens or whatever is fine, but those large
                      quantities of tannins are there precisely to prevent the all the acorns
                      from being eaten, whether by insects, pigs, or humans (otherwise, no
                      next generation of oak trees). So, whether by treating the acorns or
                      breeding the trees, you need to be eating a low tannin acorn meal to
                      stay healthy if you want to make it a staple in your diet.

                      Leaving the oak trees entirely to breed alone, without doing any
                      selection, could lead back to bitter acorns. The tannins are there
                      because they give the tree some advantage (or possibly they are there as
                      a side effect of something else that gives the tree a survival
                      advantage). Does this mean that the sweeter trees are the weaker trees?
                      Possibly.

                      I'll check some of my local native oaks (Q. garryana) for edible acorns
                      again, and if I find something interesting I'll let you all know
                      (Jean-Claude, have you sampled any? there should be some in your area as
                      well). Perhaps there are some better trees (better, that is, from the
                      point of view of a human). Oaks are only a part of the climax forest in
                      these parts, and a small one, so the sample size is small. Perhaps some
                      Q. ilex imports will be necessary for a starting point instead;
                      according to reference books they will grow here.

                      I have another idea towards edible forests, but it belongs in another
                      post.

                      Stephen
                    • jamie
                      Hello everyone, I should make it clear that my acorn interest comes directly from J. Russell Smith s Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture (originally published
                      Message 10 of 14 , Dec 23, 2003
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                        Hello everyone, I should make it clear that my acorn interest comes directly
                        from J. Russell Smith's 'Tree Crops: A Permanent Agriculture'(originally
                        published in 1929), but that his sources are those referred to recently by
                        Francisco, the 'dehesa' practice of cork (Q. suber) and holm oaks (Q. ilex)
                        to provide both 'cork and pork' sustainably.

                        I can't unfortunately briefly summarise his comments as there are more than
                        50 pages on oaks in the book and it does lack the practical farming detail
                        hinted at by Francisco. Still, there are little gems like the following
                        that, with some personal experience and other similar work that I've come
                        across in tropical climates, temperate forest gardens and the notes of Marc
                        Bonfils (who I learnt today is alive and well and living in Provence)
                        suggest a strong lead for future work:

                        "In some sections of Spain and Portugal, the young ilex trees are allowed to
                        grow where they have by chance sprung up in the fields. Around and under the
                        trees the machineless cultivation of wheat and beans, barley and hay, goes
                        on just the same. This combination of crops gives a beautiful parklike
                        landscape. The cultivation helps the oaks make acorns, and after the grains
                        and other crops are harvested, the hogs are turned in to gather the mast
                        crop."p169

                        As to the 'genetic' variability suggested by Stephen I think the 'sweetness'
                        is a stable factor and the only selection needed is for taste (ie the oaks
                        of acorns come true, AKA homozygous). This doesn't mean that there wont be
                        some differences between parents and offspring, only that they wont be as
                        variable as with some fruit. If you place 'ballota' oaks together you're
                        likely to increase your chances of similar offspring but then you loose the
                        genetic diversity for long term stability. For John's idea I'd suggest using
                        'sweet' oaks from as many sources as possible to set the whole project in
                        train and be around for the next several hundred years to ensure good
                        selection. The acorns I'm offering come from a tree that is on communal land
                        just a few metres from Souscayrous and is 'wild'. It's not too old and
                        hasn't produced too many acorns yet (200-300 at a guess) - and no John,
                        we're not too late as there were still many on the tree, or at least there
                        were but the recent wind will have brought down many and it will depend on
                        whether the herd of goats and sheep beat me to them tomorrow!

                        As to Q. garryana, Smith says this: 'One tree noted produced five hundred
                        pounds of acorns, another six hundred pounds. A third, rather small,
                        produced two bushels. Crops occur at intervals of from three to four years.
                        Fruit is frequently killed by frosts.' This is under forage crop and not for
                        human consumption, though leaching would work.

                        Jamie
                        Souscayrous


                        -----Original Message-----
                        From: sinniss@... [mailto:sinniss@...]
                        Sent: mardi 23 décembre 2003 16:47
                        To: fukuoka_farming@yahoogroups.com
                        Subject: Re: [fukuoka_farming] acorns


                        Hello all,

                        I think the oak tree project is a wonderful idea. Some thoughts on this.

                        From recent posts (thanks for these!), it looks as if selecting for
                        "sweeter" acorns already has taken place, at least in parts of Europe,
                        even though it is over a span of generations (as it would need to be)
                        and the process isn't complete yet. This is good news, because the
                        project needs that head-start.

                        The difficulty, as I understand it, is that crossing two "sweet" oaks
                        doesn't necessarily give you more sweet acorns from the next generation.
                        Suppose there are a dozen different genes for tannin production. Unless
                        the two trees in question are sweet because of the same gene, then when
                        you cross them you are back to the standard level of tannin production
                        (tree A was sweet because of it's unusual on gene 3, tree B was sweet
                        because it is unusual on gene 8; when you cross them you get a tree that
                        is typical at both genes). If I'm not explaining this well, perhaps one
                        of the plant-breeding people on this list can say it a better. The point
                        is that if you stay at it for a large number of oak generations you will
                        get there, but it's not like breeding for non-bitter almonds (cyanide
                        content in almonds is governed by fewer genes, or maybe just one). Ten
                        plus years per generation of oaks, so this is a long term project. Worth
                        it, though, in the end, and besides, even the less desireable acorns can
                        be eaten if they are leached first.

                        Tannins are indeed harmful in quantity, like anything else, and (though
                        I've not seen it myself) it is possible make yourself sick with too many
                        bitter acorns. Shuts down the digestive stystem, and hard on the kidneys
                        too. That unpleasant taste is a warning worth heeding. Yes, some dilute
                        tannin in your tea or your greens or whatever is fine, but those large
                        quantities of tannins are there precisely to prevent the all the acorns
                        from being eaten, whether by insects, pigs, or humans (otherwise, no
                        next generation of oak trees). So, whether by treating the acorns or
                        breeding the trees, you need to be eating a low tannin acorn meal to
                        stay healthy if you want to make it a staple in your diet.

                        Leaving the oak trees entirely to breed alone, without doing any
                        selection, could lead back to bitter acorns. The tannins are there
                        because they give the tree some advantage (or possibly they are there as
                        a side effect of something else that gives the tree a survival
                        advantage). Does this mean that the sweeter trees are the weaker trees?
                        Possibly.

                        I'll check some of my local native oaks (Q. garryana) for edible acorns
                        again, and if I find something interesting I'll let you all know
                        (Jean-Claude, have you sampled any? there should be some in your area as
                        well). Perhaps there are some better trees (better, that is, from the
                        point of view of a human). Oaks are only a part of the climax forest in
                        these parts, and a small one, so the sample size is small. Perhaps some
                        Q. ilex imports will be necessary for a starting point instead;
                        according to reference books they will grow here.

                        I have another idea towards edible forests, but it belongs in another
                        post.

                        Stephen





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                      • Ingrid Bauer/Jean-Claude Catry
                        (Jean-Claude, have you sampled any? there should be some in your area as well). yes just once because i eat only raw foods and assume they will be too
                        Message 11 of 14 , Dec 24, 2003
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                          (Jean-Claude, have you sampled any? there should be some in your area as
                          well). \
                          yes just once because i eat only raw foods and assume they will be too bitter as the one i tried was . But yes we manage to save may be the biggest stand of oak trees in bc from developpers . it is now an ecological reserve .

                          if you want pictures of old ones see . i am the one sitting in their mossy fork.
                          http://www.rdcraig.com/bigtrees/GOak2.HTM
                          http://www.rdcraig.com/bigtrees/GOak1.HTM
                          i have one tree on my property that is starting to be taken over by firs .i planted few more .
                          the fruit is small in comparaison of the fruits of oak in France .
                          i had the view on my previous land to plant acorns chestnut and other nuts to have wild boars underneath .

                          jean-claude




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