From Tree to Table: Gathering and Processing Acorns for Food

(Offered in conjunction with the Polly Hill Arboretum)

The fruit of the oak tree has been used as an important staple by aboriginal people across North America. The people of each region had their preferred species and detailed methods of collecting, storing, and processing the acorns for use in different types of dishes. Although rarely eaten today, oak trees still produce large numbers of fruits in many years and represent an under-utilized food source. Given their nutritional profile, low glycemic index value, and ability to be stored for long periods, acorns make a wonderful wild food that can be enjoyed throughout the year. Further, New England is blessed with a number of oak species that produce large acorns. This class will introduce students to methods of preparing them for food (primitive and contemporary methods will be mentioned). Some of the important details concerning acorn collection will also be noted. Discussion will include some life history strategies of the oaks that are relevant to foragers and some important myths found in wild food literature. A freshly made acorn food will be enjoyed at the end of the class.  This class will be offered from noon to 9:00 a.m. to 1:00 pm at Polly Hill Arboretum, West Tisbury, MA (Marthas Vineyard).  The tuition is $45.00 ($35.00 for Polly Hill Arboretum members).  People interested in registering for this class should contact Karin Stanley via phone (508-693-9426) or email:  karin@pollyhillarboretum.org.