More and more people are becoming interested in the wild foods that nature provides for us. Throughout time cultures have learned how to naturally process certain foods to make them more edible and palatable.
I often pondered what people in more primitive cultures ate...especially if they were not highly developed in agriculture. I would ask my friends and relatives...why don't we see broccoli or tomatoes, spinach, peas or pumpkins growing wild in our woods and fields? Where did they come from? I guess that I've come to the conclusion that many of our modern vegetables have been bred and developed by man from smaller less obvious varieties that may have been found in the wild. My interest in this subject has led me to begin learning about foraging for food out in nature.
A few weeks ago I bought the book Nature's Garden: A Guide to Identifying, Harvesting, and Preparing Edible Wild Plants so I could learn how to identify and prepare certain plants from the edges of our yard and from the woods and meadows near our home. This book is a bit different than most foraging books in that it includes perhaps fewer plants but it goes into greater detail on how to use them.
I have just read the comprehensive section on acorns. Acorns were once a staple food of the American Indian. They were leached (soaked in water) to remove the bitter tannins, dried and then ground into acorn meal or flour. Two quotes from this chapter read... " For thousands of years our ancestors subsisted on acorns, living as part of the ecosystems they call home. From the hills of the fertile crescent to the great forests of Western Europe, from the coasts of Japan and Korea , across the Pacific to California, from the Eastern Woodlands of North America to the mountains and valleys of Mexico, the acorn was once a cherished food as basic as bread. Despite their long food history as a food source for people over much of the world, acorns are widely believed to be poisonous or inedible. Even more widely, they are despised as being beneath the dignity of human beings to consume."