October 19, 2012

Acorns as Food - Seriously!

I've heard about this all my life and once I called the pediatrician because Josh ate a bunch of them one fall afternoon! The doctor said he would be OK might be a little sleepy and sure enough, he took a good long nap that day.

Anyway, this year the acorns have been ABUNDANT! My driveway is covered. I have swept acorns up almost weekly and still they are falling. Had to park my car way out near the street to save the paint, it looked like hail damage from the falling acorns. You can see from the picture how big and tall my trees are. No wonder we have a ton of acorns, leaves and squirrels!  Folks around here say that means a bad winter. God making food for the critters. Well what if we are some of those critters? My neighbor said she had read an article about acorns as food so I set out to educate myself.

First I ate one from the yard. Not bad but fairly bitter. Figured there must be a way to get rid of the bitter taste.My mom said you need to soak them in water to make them sweet. More research. I found that you need to shell them, boil them and pour off the water until it is clear. The tannin is what makes them bitter and it has a brown color. It's what we use to dye or tan leather. Bill works with leather so I might save the first water bath.

I always thought the acorns might taste like hazel nuts when properly prepared. I don't want to make acorn flour. I just wanted to see if they are a good snack. I did a small batch at first to see if they were worth my time. Shelling is the most work. It reminded me of when my dad was alive and he would crack and dig out the black walnuts for mom to cook with. Lot's of work! The acorns were not that bad but I wouldn't want to do bushels of them either.I boiled them in their shells first and that seemed to help. I used my tack hammer and a cutting board to crack them.  Watch for the little worms that might be in some . Don't even keep the ones with the tiny hole in the shell.

Now I boiled them to get rid of the tannin that causes them to be bitter. as soon as the water came to a boil, I poured it off and added fresh water. It took seven changes of water before mine were palatable.

Since I wanted them as a snack, I put them on a baking stone, sprayed with Olive oil spray and sprinkled generously with garlic salt. Baked in a 350 degree oven for about 15 minutes.  Not bad, still had a tiny bit of bitter taste but garlic salt helped disquise it. I might do it again with a bigger batch. I will use the empty shells as mulch around my plants. I guess if I wasn't afraid the darn things would sprout little oak trees all over the place I'd use all of them for mulch. I know from previouse experience that they do sprout. If you want to learn more about acorns as food, making acorn flour, etc look at this web site:

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