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Jackie Clay answers questions for BHM Subscribers & Customers
on any aspect of low-tech, self-reliant living.

Jackie Clay

Q and A: Acorns and silver tarps as mulch

Wednesday, April 25th, 2012


I enjoyed your blog on acorns. Just a tip: that brown yucky water aka tannin can be used to tan leather, to dye whites beige, as an astringent, can be frozen into ice cubes to be applied to poison oak for relief and speeds up the healing process. It can be jarred and even if it eventually gets moldy it can be re-boiled and it’s all new again! We love our black oak that we have in so cal but now living in Oregon we are going to find an Oregon oak and try the sweeter variety. I made acorn tortillas for my daughters class as a presentation on foods all around us and those kids begged for more whenever I saw them. I can’t wait to gather some more. Actually last time I had to put up with squirrels chatting away and angrily flipping their tails at me! Of course I left them enough. I also didn’t make the meal to boil them, I boiled them in a pot after I split the nut then dried them in the oven on very low heat then ground them down into meal. The whole process was just fantastic. I’ll be looking for more articles on your blog!


I’m glad your acorn tortillas turned out a success! Thanks for the tips on using the tannin water for something useful. Waste not/want not is our motto around here! — Jackie

Silver tarps as mulch

I came across a really great deal on silver tarps. I was wondering if these would be ok to put down to kill weeds when I plant my watermelons and butternut squash. I live about five minutes from Fl. and we have some really hot summers and was wondering would the silver burn up my plants.

Cottonwood, Alabama

I’d say you could use the silver tarps as mulch. They use them in New Mexico and they have pretty darned hot summers down there, as well. I’d probably trial them in your garden first before using them on every row…just to make sure. They do repel aphids and sometimes Colorado potato bugs, so that’s a bonus. — Jackie

One Response to “Q and A: Acorns and silver tarps as mulch”

  1. gen Says:
    I found this site and it was interesting. Much of what Jennifer wrote about is also found on it. This year one of my oaks dropped the largest acorns I’ve seen in 15 years, and are they ever plentiful. I am going to have my grand daughter help me shell them, and show her how to remove the tannin. She is looking forward to sampling one, AFTER I remove the tannin. The best I can come to identifying what type of oak it is, is a member of the red oak family. From what I have found, the nuts will be very bitter before leaching.
    Anyway, I thought somebody might like to read this info, which also includes recipes for using the prepared nuts/meal.

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