Preparing acorns

Posted by: balzaccom

Preparing acorns - 11/11/20 10:30 PM


It has been a crazy year in so many ways, but 2020 will also go down as a great year for acorns. At least, it was a great year for the trees around our cabin above Sonora. There were tons of acorns, and they were huge.

(A big year like this is called a "mast year." The collective term for fruits and nuts is a big year is a mast year.)

And with very little else to occupy us during the COVID year, I decided it was time to collect the acorns and see what we could do with them. And I got quite a few nuts, just off our small property there. About six gallons of acorns.

As you can see, they were nice and fat.

So I watched a few ballgames and shelled acorns. At least, I shelled some of them.

And then the experiments began. Like olives, acorns on their own are stunningly bitter and tannic. You can't eat them, so you have treat them in some way to get rid of all that bitterness.

We tried leaching them whole for days (NOT successful.) and then grinding them up in a food processor and leaching them cold for days (also NOT successful.) We finally tried leaching the chopped up acorn meal in very hot (almost boiling water) and changing the water every ten minutes or so for about an hour and a half...and that worked!

Interestingly enough, as they boiled, they began to smell like porcini mushrooms. How cool is that?!?

So then we dried the acorns in the oven, so they looked like this:

And that's what we've been adding to various recipes for the last few days. I added some to my granola in the And M added some to her homemade bread, which was pretty good. But then M cooked up a risotto with porcinis and these acorns, and added a little ham, and it was heaven!

We have a lot of these, and that bucket is still full, so lots more to come. But in the meantime we are having great fun experimenting with free food.
Posted by: Tom7654

Re: Preparing acorns - 11/12/20 08:24 AM

Cool story, thanks for sharing! White oaks have less bitter tannin than other oaks - their leaves have rounded lobes without pointy "pins". There is also a lot of variability between trees. Euell Gibbons said that some can be eaten without soaking. I highly recommend his book "Stalking the Wild Asparagus" for anyone who is interested in wild foods.
Posted by: BZH

Re: Preparing acorns - 11/12/20 10:25 AM

You found a decent recipe for acorns? That is impressive. I've noticed among the many efforts to preserve and revive native people's culture, eating acorn meal never seems to be part of it. Live oak acorns was the major food source for native people in California for long periods of time. This is the first I have come across someone trying to eat them today. Your first few failures is what I expected as well as your resounding... meh in granola. The fact that you got something better than meh is impressive.
Posted by: 4evrplan

Re: Preparing acorns - 11/12/20 10:44 AM

That's really cool! Reminds me of an episode of United Shades of America where Kamau interviewed a guy living off grid in the woods. The guy offered him some mashed acorns, and his reaction was less than enthusiastic. I still think it's awesome that such a plentiful wild food can be eaten, whether it's easy to make palatable or not.
Posted by: CamperMom

Re: Preparing acorns - 11/18/20 07:27 PM

Just for grins, I "Gooled" how to use acorns for food.

This is one link that may be of interest.


Posted by: balzaccom

Re: Preparing acorns - 11/18/20 09:38 PM

Fun--although I don't think we'll try the acorn coffee....