I have recently begun foraging for acorns. I work next to three old red oaks which are quite prolific nut makers. Acorns are an ancient food stuff and an important source of starch in diets around the world. So I thought I would try some.
First I had some questions:
Does it mater which species? Acorns vary in bitterness between species but you can process any of the nuts.
How can I tell if they’ve gone bad? Put them whole in water. Floaters are bad.
Are they good for you? Acorns are naturally gluten free if you’re into that sort of thing, but more importantly they are high in B6 and are a complete protein. Sweet, research complete. Let’s go harvest some acorns.
There are many ways to do this.
1) Gather them by sitting in a grove and putting them in a sack
2) Get a nut wizard.
3) Convince a horde of children it is the best game ever.
I, personally, picked the Tom Sawyer route.
Once you have a big ol’ bag of acorns (roughly 2 quarts) it’s time to get shelling. This part sucks and takes forever. I recommend doing it while bingeing on Netflix.
After the acorns are shelled, soak them in a large bowl over night in the fridge. The water that come off them will be very dark brown because it is rich in tannins. Tannins make the acorns very bitter when they are unprocessed. If you happen to be dying clothes, suffering from a rash, or about to do laundry which you wouldn’t mind having a brown tint when done, say a load of black towels, reserve the tannin water. You’ll want to pour 3-4 cups into/over the task to accomplish any of the above.
After you have leached out the first of the tannins. Do it again. Pour off that water and add the acorns to fresh water in your trusty crock pot. Cook on low for a day. Did I mention I was using the bitterest acorns? You might not need this much leaching. Just check the bitterness as the water starts to come away clear.
Once you have leached the tannins it is time to dry and grind your flour. I dried my acorns in a the oven at 150 degrees, but this can also be done in direct sunlight if it is nice enough out.
When they are dry drop them into a food processor and pulverize them into a flour meal. BOOM! Highly delicious gluten free flour.
You can use this to make bread, or really anything. I made this.
- 3 cups acorn flour
- 3 eggs
- 1 cup masa flour
- 1 cup vegetable oil
- 1 cups water
- 2 Tbsp baking powder
- 1/2 cup sugar
- 1/2 tsp. salt
- 1 cup soy milk
- Mix everything in a bowl.
- Pour batter into a greased pan.
- Bake at 450 for 20ish minutes.
- Cut into small slices and serve with butter. The bread is very thick and hearty.