What plants and animals did California Indians eat and What was their most important food?

California Indians could gather wild seeds, plums, grapes, berries, and roots; fish for trout and salmon; and hunt small birds and game such as rabbits and quail or large herds of elk and deer.

Their most important food, though, was acorns. Wherever great California oak trees grew, fall was the season of the acorn harvest. As soon as the acorns were ripe, boys and young men climbed the oaks and jiggled the branches to shake the nuts loose.

When they fell to the ground, women, children, and older people picked them up and placed them in baskets strapped to their backs. At home, the nuts were pounded into a flour, then baked into bread or mixed with water and flavored with berries to make a tasty mush.

Roasted grasshopper was a favorite food of Native Americans in central California.

About Karen Hill

Karen Hill is a freelance writer, editor, and columnist. Born in New York, her work has appeared in the Examiner, Yahoo News, Buzzfeed, among others.

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