Want to help us feed our wild patients this year? Many of the patients at the Wildlife Center, including fawns, squirrels, and bears, depend on acorns and other “hard mast” as an important fall and winter food.
While we will use some nuts soon after they are donated, we'd prefer to have supporters clean and prepare nuts for us so that we can store the food for a longer period of time and continue to use these resources throughout the winter. Below, you'll find steps on how to prepare a variety of nuts in Virginia.
Local Virginia nuts only please, in order to minimize disease transmission and keep nuts properly stored.
Acorns: We will take cleaned, bagged, quality acorns. To prepare:
- Collect acorns and separate from twigs, leaves, and other debris.
- Cover them in a container of water for five minutes. Throw away the ones that float.
- Remove acorns from water and dry with a towel, or allow to air dry.
- When fully dry, place acorns in a one-gallon Ziploc-type baggie and freeze. Keep frozen until you can deliver them to the Wildlife Center.
NOTE: Acorn quality quickly deteriorates, molds and rots if collected and left in buckets/bags where they get wet or hot.
Black Walnuts: We can take husked walnuts only.
- Collect black walnuts.
- Soak nuts in container of water for up to one week until the green or brown husk loosens and can be removed by hand.
- An alternative method is to fill a wheelbarrow full of walnuts with water. Let soak, and every few days, jiggle the wheelbarrow back and forth to agitate the husks off. Use multiple changes of water.
- Spread the husked nuts on a flat surface and allow them to fully dry in sun for a few days. Then deliver to the Wildlife Center of Virginia.
NOTE: Black Walnuts do not need to be frozen prior to delivery.
Hickories: We’ll take clean hickory nuts.
- Collect hickories and separate from twigs, leaves, and other debris.
- Deliver to the Wildlife Center
NOTE: Hickory quality quickly deteriorates, molds and rots if collected and left in buckets/bags where they get wet or hot. Hickories do not need to be frozen prior to delivery.
Thanks for your help!