It's time to gather nuts here in New England! There are many foragers out there who are so used to scanning the ground, but what about looking up? There are many trees out there that go overlooked (no pun intended), that can offer us so much food and medicine.
Did you know that you can get fresh water from a sycamore tree?
Did you know that you can stun fish in an emergency situation (it's illegal, fyi) with hickory nuts?
Did you know that the crushed husks and leaves of the black walnut tree treats worms and other parasites in humans and animals?
Did you know that you can chew on black birch twigs for mouth health? They taste like wintergreen!
That outstanding vegetable oil can be squeezed from the kernels of beech trees?
That acorns were a huge staple food and can help lower blood sugar?
Did you know that Hemlock needles contain huge amounts of vitamin C?
Betcha didn't know that a bark poultice made from the hazelnut tree can help close cuts and wounds.
Or that Ginkgo Biloba was used externally as a wash to remove freckles and the tea and nuts boost oxygen circulation, even out mood, and help Alzheimers and attention span?
There are so many weird and fun uses for trees; just like there are for the shorter shrubbery that we encounter on a daily basis. If you only do one thing this fall, try and notice Oak trees. Look up and see how many there are and how different their leaves can be. The picture below has red oaks on the left and white oaks on the right.
White oak acorns have less tannins and need to be processed less than red oaks. You could pick up the acorn off the ground and eat one without it being too bitter! Where as red oak acorns have more tannins and will require leaching more so than white oaks.
Just noticing this small difference in oak trees can help you open your eyes to the many types of trees around you. And you can be so proud of yourself for properly identifying these! It's not hard; just crane that neck of yours up.
Autumn is such a great time. What are you favorite aspects about it?
Hyyge (Danish word roughly translated to coziness, Google it, it's amazing)? Brisk air? Warm apple pie? Bright blue skies with fall foliage? Honey crisp apples?
Handmade in Vermont!