Scenes from the Eastern Woodlands
A Virtual Tour ~ Circa 1550
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Grinding our corn and nuts ...
You will see how the women and older children make flour and grits and meal to use in our food. We grind the corn in large wooden mortars, using long heavy stone pestles. Our wooden mortars are carved and hollowed out from hardwood logs. Some of our pestles have the shapes of animals or other things carved into the end we hold.
We can tie the end of the pestle to the tip of a small sapling, and the natural spring in the bent over sapling makes it easier to pound the kernels in the mortar. We add our dried and parched cornmeal to many kinds of food, and the men carry little bags of the dried corn powder on their long trips, and it carries them a far distance.
There are many kinds of nuts to eat including acorns from the oak, beech nuts, chestnuts, hickory nuts and walnuts. We can make flour from them for delicious nut breads, or we can grind them very fine to make a nut butter from them.
We shell the nuts first by setting them on our "nutting stone," (a cobble with a little depression in it), and then we crack the nut open with another cobble. We grind the nuts into a flour by rolling a pestle over them in a shallow stone mortar.
This series is now available as a soft-cover book:
"Woodland Windows," with expanded descriptive
text and additional resource materials
Text and Graphics
© 1994 - Tara Prindle
unless otherwise cited.