Ultra fancy biochemical test for acorns

Today, I decided to go explore the interesting morphologies that shin oak (Quercus havardii) has to offer. It's not like I hadn't done it before. Almost every time I look outside, I am curious about them. Today, however, is different. I decided to employ a biochemical test!

The methodology is as follows:
Find a good acorn that hasn't been eaten by any grubs, dried out, or become discolored due to fungal infection.
Peel the shell off of the acorn.
Stick acorn in mouth without boiling
Chew
Analyze results

At this stage, it analyzes only two variables: bitterness and nuttiness. The bitterness is usually better classified as astringent, but it should all be tannic acid so no use separating the two.

Anyway, I only had the "funding" to test four observations, but they're associated with this post. It'd be really good to raise my n value. Who knows, I might get more "funding" later today! (when it starts to cool down again, that is)

פורסם על-ידי nathantaylor nathantaylor, יולי 12, 2017 06:45 אחה"צ

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nathantaylor

תאריך

יולי 2017

מקום

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

תיאור

Ultra fancy, expensive biochemical test results for acorns:
Bitterness*: about average for around here (maybe even slightly more).
Nutty taste: strong.
*Bitterness is almost certainly from the tannic acid and usually tastes more astringent than bitter in this species due to the lower concentrations.

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nathantaylor

תאריך

יולי 2017

מקום

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

תיאור

Ultra fancy, expensive biochemical test results for acorns:
Bitterness*: very low.
Nutty taste: very weak to non-existant.
*Bitterness is almost certainly from the tannic acid and usually tastes more astringent than bitter in this species due to the lower concentrations.

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מתצפת/ת

nathantaylor

תאריך

יולי 2017

מקום

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

תיאור

Ultra fancy, expensive biochemical test results for acorns:
Bitterness*: about average for around here.
Nutty taste: weak.
*Bitterness is almost certainly from the tannic acid and usually tastes more astringent than bitter in this species due to the lower concentrations.

תמונות/קולות

מתצפת/ת

nathantaylor

תאריך

יולי 2017

מקום

Texas, US (Google, OSM)

תיאור

Ultra fancy, expensive biochemical test results for acorns:
Bitterness*: relatively weak.
Nutty taste: weak (present only if consuming half to entire acorn at once).
*Bitterness is almost certainly from the tannic acid and usually tastes more astringent than bitter in this species due to the lower concentrations.

תגובות

Bleeeegh! All the acorns I've ever tasted are hooooorrrible! If you need some more funding, I'll send you a pack of juicy fruit gum to try to get the taste out of your mouth. :)

פורסם על-ידי sambiology לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

Thanks for the offer, though I was thinking more of enthusiasm in hot weather rather than palatability. :)
Quercus havardii acorns really aren't all that bad. As a whole, they are quite low in tannins. I sometimes run across one that I just have to spit out, but most are palatable in small quantities without boiling. I'm guessing the majority of what you've tried would be live oak? Those aren't very good at all compared to shin oaks (they're still pretty good compared to the red oaks, though). I definitely wouldn't want to eat live oak acorns without boiling. I think I remember trying bur oak at one time and it wasn't half bad (maybe a little more bitter/astringent than shin oak). I would think post oak wouldn't be too bad, though the hybrids with it out here are definitely more bitter than those of the majority of the other mottes (I have to be careful how I word this, because there are several clumps that I can't help but think there are genes of another species floating around).

פורסם על-ידי nathantaylor לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

One of my favorite things to do at this time of year is to get a bunch of acorns, chop them up, boil them, and put the warm pieces in vanilla ice cream. Takes a little work to get acorns that don't have grubs in them and then to shell them. The acorns are soft but very warm and nutty. If added a little at a time, they work quite well with the ice cream. Just can't let it sit too long or the acorns will cool and become tough (and not the crunchy kind of tough that you get from most nuts).

פורסם על-ידי nathantaylor לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

My earlier efforts to leach, roast, and grind acorns (probably post oak) to make coffee gave me diarrhea.

פורסם על-ידי connlindajo לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

I don't think I've ever heard of someone using them for coffee.

פורסם על-ידי nathantaylor לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

Google: oak acorn coffee

פורסם על-ידי connlindajo לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

Interesting. My only thought is that you may not have boiled enough of the tannins out. I'm actually a little surprised that you both have had such bad experiences with acorns. I guess these shin oak acorns have spoiled me. You ought to come out to the sanddunes where the acorns are more friendly.

פורסם על-ידי nathantaylor לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

Just put that on my bucket list tonight... along with a visit to BRIT....

פורסם על-ידי connlindajo לפני בערך 5 שנים (סמן)

פורסם על-ידי kimberlietx לפני כמעט 5 שנים (סמן)

Coincidentally, I am clearing out my chest freezer to unplug and re-purpose. The acorns (live oak) I collected in 2012 were added to my compost bin. Had collected them to make acorn flour. Never got around to it.
Glad @kimberlietx reminded me of Nathan's "ultra fancy biochemical test for acorns".

It certainly bears future investigation. Any new developments @nathantaylor7583 ?

פורסם על-ידי connlindajo לפני כמעט 5 שנים (סמן)

Not much. The acorns have an extremely short shelf-life and an even shorter out-in-sun-life. They were done soon after I posted this. I did end up getting some acorn ice cream out of it before they stopped producing, though. :-) By the way, I recommend Bur Oak. If I remember right, they have fewer tannins than Live Oak. If you boil them enough times, they should be fine, though.

פורסם על-ידי nathantaylor לפני כמעט 5 שנים (סמן)

Hopefully, next year can try the burr oak acorns... My son (interested in native TX trees) pointed out last weekend that there were no acorns on my trees. Actually, not many acorns on any of the oak trees on my place. Hmmmm.

פורסם על-ידי connlindajo לפני כמעט 5 שנים (סמן)

I studied plant remains from archaeological sites in California for nearly 15 years. In southern Monterey County I have a cluster of sites with very high charred acorn kernel to shell ratios (35:1 vs 1:108). I always wondered if the folks who lived around there discovered a population of oaks with acorns that have a very low tannin content, ones that could be eaten with only a little roasting, like the Emory Oak of southern Arizona or the Bur Oak of the southeast US.. Or perhaps, the people who lived around there preferred streambed leaching, to pound and ground leaching. Although many California archaeologists would hate this idea, I wouldn't be surprised if the First Peoples of California didn't plant acorns from their favorite trees , to ensure a future harvest of choice acorns. I have seen oak trees in the Sierra that have sprouted in stone rings that were probably the foundations of ancient acorn granaries. We forget that the "wild" landscapes that Europeans first encountered when they came to the "New World" had actually been managed to maximize food production (for both game and food plants) for thousands of years by the first colonists of North and South America who arrived 11,000 to 15,000+ years ago.

פורסם על-ידי charlie_m לפני יותר משנה (סמן)

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