Takelma Culture

How did the Takelma prepare Acorns?

Acorn Preparation

Large quantities of acorns were collected in the late summer and early fall. After the acorns were collected, they were dried and could then be kept for years, if the supply lasted. Many people prefer aged acorns over fresh ones. (Kentta: 2004). To prepare acorns, they are shelled and cleaned. They are then pounded with a stone and ground into a fine meal or flour. This acorn meal was then placed into a carefully formed basin made from basketry or in the sand, and then rinsed thoroughly and repeatedly with cold water to leach out the bitter flavor or the tannins. (Kentta: 2004). The flour or meal was combined with water in a water-tight basket. Hot rocks from the fire were added to cook the mush or porridge. The finished product was used in several different ways including eaten like a hot cereal or formed into breads and cakes. Dried manzanita berries were often used to add flavor to both the cakes and porridge (Sapir 1907b: 257-58).

Kentta, Robert

  • 2004 website edits. Cultural Resource Director for Confederated Tribes of Siletz Indians

Sapir, Edward

  • 1907b Notes on the Takelma Indians of Southwestern Oregon. American Anthropologist 9(2): 51-275.
Mortar and pestle

Mortar and pestle
Grinding tool

Watertight basket

Watertight basket
Used to cook acorns

Mortar and pestle with manzanita berries

Manzanita berries
Used to sweeten acorn
porridge and cakes

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