Did you know acorns are also known as oaknuts because they’re the fruit of oak trees? There is much more than meets the eye when it comes to these small seeds. Acorns can be collected for many different uses, such as deer bait, crafting, selling at farmer’s markets, or even in cooking. The more you know about them, the better you’ll become at utilizing them.
It is amazing how a tiny acorn can become a giant oak tree that lives for, on average, 100-150 years. Some rare species of live oaks, such as the Angel oak tree, can live up to 2,000 years! Leafy Place is a website containing loads of information on all types of trees and plants. They explain, “Each acorn contains one or two oak seeds and it is enclosed in a tough protective shell. Acorns have a distinctive oval shape with a scaly or warty cap called a cupule. The edible acorns usually take between 6 to 24 months to mature.”
There are about 500 known species of oak trees. You can identify each type by the various colors, shapes, and sizes of their acorns. For example, white oak acorns are known to be glossy, oblong shaped, light brown nuts with a rounded end and pointed tip. Southern live oak acorns are rounded black nuts with a tan colored, warty cupule. Bur oak trees produce the largest acorns which are grayish-brown with a hairy cupule that covers most of the nut.
You may not be surprised to learn acorns are a staple food for squirrels, chipmunks, and deer. But did you know they’re also eaten by opossums, blue jays, badgers, pigs, and even moose? Humans can also eat acorns if they don’t mind doing a little work to make them safe and palatable. Consuming raw acorns can be toxic because they contain bitter tannin that must be leached out by soaking them in water and draining them. You may have to repeat this process until the water is clear after soaking, and then they’re safe to consume. “Acorns are edible nuts that can be roasted, ground into flour, or used for a caffeine-free coffee-like drink.” You can use the flour as you would in your usual baking recipes for an added nutty flavor.
As you can see, acorns are more than just food for woodland animals. To learn more, check out our sources below. See all your Bag-A-Nut Harvester options for Acorns here: