This noble, deciduous tree, once a powerful pagan symbol, has large, spreading branches, lobed leaves, and male catkins. Oak bark provides a leather tan, and as tanners seemed immune to tuberculosis, the bark was used for treatment of the disease. Acorns have been used as human food in times of famine, though they were mainly used as animal fodder. The raw kernels are bitter, but chopped and roasted that can be used as a substitute for almonds. The Californian Indians used acorns as one of the basic items in their domestic economy and were used in the form of a coarse-ground meal. The bitterness had to be removed this was done by pulverising the nuts then leaching them in repeated doses of water. The result was a mush having a consistency of peanut butter and having a flavour of sour cream and grapenuts. It was regarded as an extremely substantial food. In Europe the most common recent use of acorns has been in the roast form, as a substitute for coffee during the war. The kernels were chopped, roasted to a light brown colour, ground up, and then roasted again. The oak apple and leaves were once worn as a symbol of loyalty to the Crown and the US military awards the bronze or silver oak leaf cluster for heroism.
|The fruit of the Oak - Acorns|