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Constance Bay Red Oak Acorn Oil Experiment: Progress to Winter Solstice 2008

This is the first progress report on the experiment.
As of Winter Solstice 2008 (on December 21 this year), the Constance Bay Red Oak Forest Acorn Oil Experiment was quickening as we got yet closer to our first oil assay.

The experiment began in the summer of 2008 when the possibility of the local acorns having a rich edible oil came to light. A literature review (there is little scientific literature on this matter - yet) revealed that the red oak acorn could hold up to 30% oil. The oil is said to be akin to olive oil, the best of any edible oil, withstanding the high temperatures of cooking without smoking and having the healthiest kind of of food fats. Local restauranteur (and our West Carleton - March Ward city Councillor) Eli El-Chantiry was intrigued.

Our acorn oil experiment was thus conceived.
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Here we see red oak acorns ripening on the tree. During a mast year (a year when the trees produce an especially large crop - about every two to four years), an average tree can produce a bushel or more of acorns, half of which will be usable. In Constance Bay and Buckhams Bay, which comprise the Village, there are probably a thousand such trees - a veritable Red Oak Forest. The acorns can be used to make cooking ingredients such as nut meal, flour, starch, milk, butter, kernel and more.
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There are other kinds of nut trees in the Village. Three native tree nuts are the Beech, the Beaked Hazel and the Bur Oak. Here we see bur oaks ripening. The red oak acorns are said to be oil and tannin rich, whereas the bur oak is low in oil and tannin but high in carbohydrates. This means red oak would crisp up when roasted, whereas bur oak would soften like chestnuts do.
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For first harvest we were aiming to collect enough acorns for experimental purposes. We collected by hand. Here Vera uses the Nut Wizard. It is a rolling basket which is pushed like a broom. As it rolls the acorns pop through into the oval wire basket. getting trapped inside. whent he basket has as many nuts as it can hold, empty the basket. It is usually full when the new acorns entering some already inside to fall out.
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Hank is on the left holding another brand of nut picker upper called the Pecan Picker. It is used to poke the acorns into its basket. When it is full, often to overflowing, the basket is emptied. On the right, Vera Marie collects by hand. She can select the best acorns by eye. Even though this method is slow initially, so few rejects are collected that it is often worthwhile.
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Canada Nutculture Association, Ottawa, Canada: "Progress through Research & Development"