Oak is a hardwood that burns long and hot. As a resilient species, oak trees are naturally resistant to various diseases.
Oak trees produce acorns that can be used to make food and ingredients like acorn butter and flour. Acorns are high in calories and they're also a great source of protein. (Related: Start today: Plant these food-producing trees on your property now.)
Oak logs are often used as a construction material for cabinets, flooring, trim, and furniture.
There are various varieties of oak that offer different benefits. For example, red oak is one of the best sources of wood for furniture and flooring. Meanwhile, white oak is a great choice for firewood.
Some people avoid using acorns as an ingredient because the nuts have tannins. This group of bitter plant compounds can be harmful when consumed in high amounts.
Additionally, tannins are considered an antinutrient, which means they can reduce the body’s ability to absorb essential nutrients from food.
Fortunately, you can leach most of the tannins out of acorns when you prepare them for consumption via boiling or soaking. Once they're properly leached, acorns can be roasted, salted, or sugared and consumed as a snack.
With a food processor, you can turn roasted acorns into a nut butter. Acorn butter has a texture and taste similar to peanut butter, but the latter has a more pronounced, nut-like taste.
Acorns can also be ground into flour. Like regular flour, acorn flour can be used to make breads, biscuits, muffins, and pancakes. Acorn flour is gluten-free.
If you keep livestock such as pigs on your homestead, you can feed them acorns. The nuts don't need to be roasted if they're going to be used as livestock feed. However, before you feed acorns to your animals, leach the tannins first by repeatedly soaking the acorns in water.
Here are some of the many health benefits of acorns:
Oaks grow large and you can periodically trim their branches for firewood. When a mature oak dies, the tree can provide enough firewood for an entire winter. Do take note that oak trees can take at least a hundred years or more to fully mature.
Alternatively, oak can be used to build beautiful pieces of furniture for your homestead or cabin. The hardwood is also suitable for floors and shelves.
If you're going to use oak for firewood, plant trees on your property as soon as possible. Oaks don’t grow fast and most trees that live to 100 years grow very slowly.
The same holds true if you want to use acorns to make butter or flour since most species of oaks only start producing acorns after at least 20 years. The peak production of oak trees occurs from 50 to 80 years. Acorn production slows down after 80 years.
Plan your homestead carefully and consider the growth time-frame of trees or crops that you wish to plant on your property. If you are planting a garden that you want your children's children and grandchildren to benefit from, oaks are the best choice as a source of survival food.