It hasn't been a good year for many fruits but this years acorn crop may have set a record. I've never seen this many. At times I sounded like a hail storm when a breeze blew. I'm on Long Island. I'm wondering if others have seen an unusually heavy acorn crop. Too bad they taste so bad.
This is the density of acorns on the ground and some are still in the trees. Considering the dominant tree in the area is oak, the road, driveway and lawns are coated with a dense mat of acorns.
The squirrels are happy?
If you ever come upon hard times, you'll have a staple crop. Leach them with lye and water to remove the tannins, then grind into flour. Use as you would any nut flour in a recipe. Moccasins and headdress not included.
Not sure where you are from but seeing similar results in Virginia. I have six deer feeding under one tree on a daily basis. With gun hunting season getting ready to start they move closer to houses.
If you click on his name above his post you'll find he's at "Middle of Long Island, NY."
Thanks, I am relatively new to the site.
They are everywhere this year....picked up a bunch in Boston the other day although the squirrels are cleaning them up pretty good in Boston Common. Can't wait to plant red, white and pin this winter and hopefully watch them grow.
In Michigan, somehow, this year we are getting very little in the way of acorns. My driveway is under several oaks so I get to see their output or lack thereof in excruciating detail. In the past, we have had bumper crop years when the East Coast was getting nothing, even in dry years with well timed rains. To prepare acorns, you need to soak them for three days, changing the water a few times, specially red oaks.
I eat acorns from time to time. I prefer white oak acorns. I've eaten others but when I crack them I dust them off to get the tannins off.
One possible reason for oaks to make an unusually large quantity of acorns in a given year is their built-in survival mechanism. "Hey, it has been so dry that we are likely going to dry to death, so we better leave a bunch of replacements to take our place. The show must go on." Like St. Augustine grass, which grows out a bunch of new seedy shoots after things get too dry for too long.
I'm pretty sure oaks go through 3 years cycles, where the 3rd year is a super heavy crop.
Acorns aren't too plentiful in my area this year. Extremely hot and dry in August and Sept was rough on trees. The pin oak in my yard dropped half it's leaves in early September and the acorns it has are tiny.
I've been trying to make them unhappy but mother nature is not cooperating. Maybe next year the squirrels will not eat my peaches, plums and apples but not likely.
Based on some online research I did spring weather and tree stress are the major factors determining crop size.
Regarding eating them, I'll try the 3 day soak and also the lye that @gsims1997 mentioned.
Have you tasted them? You might be surprised...
I've sampled several oaks around the yard this fall - my top-producing 'Sweet Idaho' bur oak's acorns are totally non-bitter this year. Picked up a couple from an F2 Q.prinoidesXvirginiana yesterday - started out actually 'sweet'... with a little astringency coming along, but then dissipating.
Need to check some of the larger-acorn bur oaks... those golfball-size nuts could be providing some good munching!
My grandpa always called acorns poor mans corn. They literally meant it was used for the same purposes for people, livestock or whatever. His first heard of pigs he raised on acorns. The acorns were raked up and fed to The pigs as is in the shell. They are likely a lot healthier than corn ever was.
It is called a 'mast year' when the forest trees produce a bumper crop of nuts, fruit, seeds. We are having one here with oaks too. I have used them as a pig feed supplement, the hogs love em.
The reason why acorns are superior for pigs and humans are 1) the mineral profile, specially K, 2) lack of lectins (a class of toxins ubiquitous in grains), and 3) a bit more fat. 1) is big. Given the high K and Mg, they look much more like roots to a mammal system, compared to grains, and much less likely to give trouble if eaten in quantity.
While I've munched on the occasional acorn, just to gauge fresh-eating 'sweetness'(or lack thereof), and have a number of clones of low-tannin oak selections grafted and growing here, I certainly can't claim any extensive personal experience processing acorns for human consumption, but everything I've read or been told by folks who actually do it indicates that you need to remove shell/hull, pellicle, and grind/chop the kernel in order to effectively leach out the tannins.
I have doubts that folks who just soak acorns, in-shell, are going to have success removing tannins. But I could be wrong.
There are, I'm sure, plenty of websites out there with info and recipes, but for those who prefer a book in hand, search out these two:
"It Will Live Forever: Traditional Yosemite Indian Acorn Preparation" by Bev Ortiz with Julia Parker
"Acorns and Eat 'em" by Suellen Ocean
I'm in Florida, 2016 was the best Acorn year I have ever seen. The deer and squirrel had a heyday! I had acorn that just layed and got crushed because there were just to many for the animals to eat.....