Rent Shop Volunteer Join

Q. Who is Mr. Smarty Plants?

A: There are those who suspect Wildflower Center volunteers are the culpable and capable culprits. Yet, others think staff members play some, albeit small, role. You can torture us with your plant questions, but we will never reveal the Green Guru's secret identity.

Help us grow by giving to the Plant Database Fund or by becoming a member

Did you know you can access the Native Plant Information Network with your web-enabled smartphone?

Share

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants

Ask Mr. Smarty Plants is a free service provided by the staff and volunteers at the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center.

Search Smarty Plants
See a list of all Smarty Plants questions

Please forgive us, but Mr. Smarty Plants has been overwhelmed by a flood of mail and must take a break for awhile to catch up. We hope to be accepting new questions again soon. Thank you!

Need help with plant identification, visit the plant identification page.

 
rate this answer
18 ratings

Wednesday - October 24, 2007

From: Ft. Worth, TX
Region: Southwest
Topic: Edible Plants
Title: Edibility of bur oak (Quercus macrocarpa) acorns
Answered by: Nan Hampton and Damon Waitt

QUESTION:

Is the acorn of the Bur Oak edible?

ANSWER:

Yes, apparently the Chippewa, the Ojibwa, the Dakota, the Ponca, the Winnebago, the Pawnee, the Cheyenne and the Omaha Indians all used the acorns of the Quercus macrocarpa (bur oak) as food as well as for medicinal purposes. The acorns were roasted or boiled or otherwise treated before eating. You can see the references in the Native American Ethnobotany database from the University of Michigan-Dearborn. In general, acorns (nuts) are edible after tannins are leached or boiled out. Gather nuts during the fall from September to October. Only gather the ripe tan-to-brown acorns rather than the unripe green ones. To remove bitterness, shell the brown ripe acorns and remove any corky skin layers dice the meat and boil the chunks in water from 15 to 30 minutes until the water turns brown. Then pour off the water and repeat the process until the water clears indicating that the tannic acid has been removed. During the last boiling salt water can be added; then the acorns can be deep fried or mixed in a soup. Finely chopped acorn meats can be added to bread doughs and muffin batters. After the leaching process acorn meat can be frozen. To make flour the boiled acorn meat can be split in two and dried by slowly baking in a 200 degree oven with the door cracked to allow moisture to escape. Crush or grind and use as a thickener or a flour. Another method is to roast the fresh acorn to work well in a grinder or blender. After grinding place the flour into a cloth bag and boil to leach out bitterness. Leached acorns after they are roasted until brittle can be ground and used as a marginal coffee substitute. Warning: Acorns (seeds of nuts) and young leaves have low toxicity if eaten. Symptoms include stomach pain constipation and later bloody diarrhea excessive thirst and urination.
 

More Edible Plants Questions

Fruit trees for Kempner, Texas
November 29, 2013 - I just moved to Kempner , TX and would like to plant a couple of fruit trees in my 1 1/4 ac yard. I would like to plant a species that will do well and produce edible fruit. Any assistance will be app...
view the full question and answer

Plants for making dyes for organic cotton
October 07, 2006 - Looking to dye my own organic cotton for my new line of organic clothing and I want to grow the plants for making the dyes in my own garden. Any suggestions?
view the full question and answer

Montana native plants to create a garden with edible plants
January 14, 2013 - Hi Smarty Plants We are looking to create a native herb, vegetable, root, fruit, flower and ground cover garden for the area of Hot Springs, Sanders County, Montana. Our zone is 4 and soil is mostly ...
view the full question and answer

Pruning non-native peach in Austin, TX.
June 18, 2015 - I planted two five gallon Texas Star peach trees last February but didn't have the nerve to prune them back to knee height. After having been convinced that this is a good thing to do, I'd like to k...
view the full question and answer

Is it safe to eat vegetables grown in the same bed as foxgloves?
August 12, 2012 - I have foxglove in my flower beds and have planted tomatoes, cucumbers, peppers and cantaloupe in the flower bed and now I am concerned about the shared root system. Also, my tomatoes are touching the...
view the full question and answer

Support the Wildflower Center by Donating Online or Becoming a Member today.