Wild plants in Florida are many and several are edible, including the oak acorn. Acorns are well known as an abundantly available food for any forager or survivalist, but the Florida oak acorn is much smaller and may need more processing to make them edible. Many Florida natives used the oak acorn as a staple food and they were considered one of the best Florida wild edible foods. Nuts such as the oak acorn are not only considered one of the many favorite wild plants in Florida but are favorites all over the world.
Many wild plants like the pine and oak trees offer the forager and survivalist many useful parts, like the acorn. The Florida oak tree offers food (acorn), fire, shelter, cordage and rope and can be made into furniture or baskets. Wild plants foragers know that the edible part of the Florida oak is the acorn nut meat itself.
Collecting the Nuts
When searching for wild plants it is good to know that there are two common types of oaks in Florida, the white oak acorn and the red oak acorn. The white oak tree is the one to look for when foraging for nut meat because they have the least amount of tannic acid and require less leaching. The leaves on these wild plants are the ones with rounded tips while the red oak comes to a point.
Acorn trees can be found all over Florida and many people have them in their yard. If you are able to you can place a tarp under the oak tree to easily catch the acorns as they begin falling from the tree. You can also collect the nuts from these wild plants just by picking them up off the ground and placing them in a container.
It is important to remember to collect only mature acorns (not green). If you want to have less leaching time search for the nuts from these wild plants that have a large nut in comparison to the cap that is on the tip of the oak acorn. If an acorn has a cap that takes up at least half the length of the shell, you may want to move on.
Preparing the Nuts for Eating
All you need to do is place the collected Florida nuts in a pot of water and then remove the ones that float. If acorns float they are no good (usually rotten or have worms). You can then begin the leaching process by placing the nuts in several changes of boiling water. Place the nuts from these wild plants from one boiling pot to another.
Another option is to keep changing the oak acorn nuts in several changes of cold water or just soak them in the river for a week. Once this step is complete all you need to do is dry the acorn nut meat on a low temperature, grind into a meal, and store for later use.
How to Use These Nuts in Florida
Florida oak nut meat can be stored for months at a time depending on whether or not you boiled the oil out of them or not. The Florida nuts from these wild plants that were cold processed will still have the oil in them so they may not store as long as the hot processed nuts, especially in the heat of Florida.
The Florida oak nuts from these wild plants can be used for coffee, a meal for breakfast, added to pancake mix, added to flour for bread or biscuits, or can be added to soups and stews for flavor and thickening. Florida oak Acorn meal can be used just about any way that flour is used.
Always properly identify any potential wild edible plants before eating. Seek the advice of a local professional whenever possible. There are many poisonous wild plants in Florida so always take caution when foraging for even the wild foods that are not poisonous.
More wild plants & such from Teresa:
How to Harvest and Cook Kudzu Leaves
How to Make Kudzu Jelly (Tastes Like Grape)
How to Catch Rain Water While Camping
How to Build a Stone Oven While Camping