The Pecan is next up in our Edible November series. The Pecan is often thought of as only grown in Southern Regions, well think again.
Believe it or not people in the Northeast region of the US have found success growing pecans. The trick is to get early ripening cultivars. Be sure to plant your Pecans in an area with full fall sun to help those nuts get to maturity.
Most pecan trees need nearly 150 frost free days. Here is Western NJ most years we are right at that number. So yes it might be risky to plant Pecan trees in your yard but that risk might pay off in bushels and bushels of nuts each year.
Next on our list for Edible November is the chestnut tree. "Chestnuts roasting on an open fire" isn't just a line is a Christmas song. It used to be a wonderful winter tradition shared by families everywhere. Asian and Mediteranriean cultures have been growing and eating the chestnut for thousands of years. It is a prized staple due to their nutritional value. Chestnuts are high in fiber, vitamin C, potassium, magnesium, amino acids, and antioxidants.
The American chestnut tree used to dominate our regions forests but they were nearly wiped out decades ago. The good news it hybrid strains of American, European, and Asian chestnuts are being bred to be blight resistant. Due to advanced breeding programs some Chestnut trees will begin barely nuts in just 3 years. Consider planting a few chestnuts this fall. Just beware that the nut of the chestnut is protected by a spiny husk. If you have little kids this may be a tree you don't want to plant in the middle of your yard!
Edible November takes us to a familiar tree that you might not believe is edible, the oak tree! Native Americans sustained themselves on the acorns from Oak trees for hundreds of years. These days acorns are thought to be just another thing to rake up with the leaves. Let's change this and turn acorns back to the wonderful edible that they once were.
Acorns have tannin in them that needs to be leached out of the nutmeat before us humans can eat them. The leaching process is as simple as placing your netted acorns into water and leaving them until the tannins have been removed. Historically this process was done in streams and rivers but you can do it in your sink or bathtub.
Once leached the nutmeat of the acorns can be made into flour, ground into coffee, made into soups, the possibilities are endless. If you have pigs acorns make a great pig finishing food.
Oak trees and their accompanying acorn mast can be found most anywhere. Bury a few acorns this fall and you will have tiny little oak trees sprouting up in no time. Yes it does take years as much as 15-20 years for oak trees to yield a harvest. Just consider it a gift for your future self!