It’s a mast 12 months for oaks, and now we have a powerful crop of acorns this 12 months the place I reside in central Manitoba! It’s additionally a good time to see if we will enhance upon the genetics of those timber for human consumption. Often, acorns are thought-about too bitter for consuming and require particular preparation. However some sorts (some even from particular person timber) show to be extra candy, bigger and fewer bitter. 

There are quite a lot of causes we’d contemplate creation of a extra edible acorn extremely fascinating. Oaks have inherent worth for hardwood lumber, shade on the farm for livestock, windbreaks, habitat for native species and extra. The assorted tree species are drought resistant and might tolerate quite a lot of soil and environmental circumstances. They develop throughout North America, and all of us have some varieties we name native to our house area! 

Acorns as Meals?

With all these oaks, it’s honest to surprise why there isn’t a industrial acorn trade. The reply: We haven’t selectively bred oaks for meals. 

However … why not? The principle motive is the crop’s inconsistency, as a mast 12 months (or bumper crop) for acorns solely happens each two to 5 years. 

One other chief issue is the acorn’s bitterness, although some kinds of oaks—white oaks primarily, like swamp, Oregon and Burr—do have sweeter flesh. Most acorns may be rendered sweeter with processing, however a candy acorn proper off the tree is significantly better for the way forward for this perennial meals crop.

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A Citizen Initiative 

So this fall, in honor of the bumper crop of acorns, I’ve taken to the streets on my longboard to gather acorns from alternative timber throughout city Winnipeg. I’m figuring out the dimensions, abundance and sweetness of acorns from particular person timber and groves, and my staff and I are logging this information in our Edible Biodiversity database.

Any grove or tree of specific significance will get a novel ID quantity. We then make file of the standard and amount of the acorns. 

Did I point out how enjoyable this scientific endeavor is? I’m skating the streets on a Cruiser skateboard—a shorter profile than my regular longboard however with a large and durable 9.9-inch deck. This enables me to simply make distance between timber in good time and gives the soundness to hold my acorn-collecting bag over my shoulder. I can even swap the shorter deck onto my again after I transfer between the oaks in a grove. 

We may be severe about bettering meals accessibility whereas additionally doing issues we get pleasure from.

mast year oak oaks acorns
Zach Loeks

A Good Oak

Up to now, I’ve discovered some distinctive oaks each in parks and alongside streets, particularly on the west aspect of town. Of those now we have chosen three groves that exhibit specific sweetness. These might be sorted and excessive graded to plant out throughout town in micro-living laboratory initiatives. 

What do I search for in an excellent oak grove? First, I observe if the timber look wholesome. I additionally search for useless branches within the cover. I file the dimensions of the timber and if they’re producing a big crop from a smaller or older tree. I additionally observe the next:

  • common measurement of the acorns
  • if the caps come off simply
  • presence and quantity of insect holes within the acorns
  • acorn sweetness each uncooked and processed 

Preserve posted for extra nutty edible biodiversity adventures! 

Develop On, Zach 



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