Subject: Re: CAN YOU EAT ACORNS?
From: Maggie Houston <maggua.vnet.net>
Date: 24 Sep 1995 03:27:18 GMT
> My oak tree is putting out tons of acorns this year. Are they edible? If so, can you harvest them green, and let them dry, or do you have to wait until they fall?
I have been told by NA's that they routinely gathered the fallen acorns and ground them into a flour. Water was added and sometimes blueberries or other available fruits to make a type of flat bread. I have never done this myself. But would try it if I had the need. I would start with a very small amount to see how it affected my digestion and pallette. This is the way our ancestors discovered what they could eat without the availablity of scientific testing. Best Wishes and good health.
From: p_iannone.pop.com (Paul Iannone)
: I have been told by NA's that they routinely gathered the fallen acorns and ground them into a flour.
Ooh, not a very good idea. Most acorns need to be extensively leached first, or they will make your mouth and intestines very unhappy for a long time.
From: cyli <cyli.visi.com>
> I have been told by NA's that they routinely gathered the fallen acorns and
My vague memories of reading about acorns would make me wary of just grinding them up and making a paste. I think I recall that they first have to be soaked for a day or two in several changes of water, cold water, I think, to remove either a bitter taste or some toxin. Check it out before you do more than taste a very little bit of it. As a child I remember hulling one and eating half the nutmeat and suffering no harm (nor did any of the other kids in the bunch that tried them.). But I do also remember that, unlike raw corn on the cob, none of us ate more than that nor did we have any desire to try them again. Euell Gibbons books probably have information on them. I can't imagine him having passed them up when he was talking about food sources.
From: ravendncr.aol.com (RAVENDNCR)
Gather all the acorns you can and feed them to the wild life over the winter. Plant a few next spring for more trees, or send them to me as the trees that grace our yard have non this year and the deer are already coming down out of the mountain foraging for what little greenery there is.
Oh yea, and experiment--- they have to be ripe, and shelled, and boiled for at least two-four hours, changing the water when it becomes brown (the object is to remove the tannic acid). After boiling, roast them for about an hour and eat (I like them this way) or grind into flour and bake again for about an hour.
I have only experimented with red oak (more bitter) and white oak (sweet).
> My vague memories of reading about acorns would make me wary of just grinding them up and making a paste. I think I recall that they first have to be soaked for a day or two in several changes of water, cold water, I think, to remove either a bitter taste or some toxin.
The substance is tannic acid -- unpleasant and probably not good for you in large amounts. Different varieties of acorns have different amounts; if memory serves, white oak is the most tannin-free. Boil or leach them, then dry and grind.
From: Liz Jones <lizjones+.pitt.edu>
Acorns are edible, yes. But. You'll need to put them through 3 to 4 rinses (ie, soak 'em in water for a few days, then pour off = "a rinse") to make them edible. I can't remember if you can hurry up the soaking time by boiling -- I would imagine you could. People have used them for a decent, high protein flour, and I've also heard of acorns being used as a coffee substitute (maybe used one of the later rinses for coffee? They have a high tannin content). General rule seems to be: rinse until the rinse water runs clear. Good luck. Let us know how they taste if you try it.
From: bella.kinney.channel1.com (Bella Kinney)
> My oak tree is putting out tons of acorns this year. Are they
Acorns contain significant levels of tannic acid which must be leached out before the nutmeat can be eaten. I will suggest the mechanical way to do this then the easy way. The involved way starts with shelling the nuts, then macerating them, then leaching out the tannins in the same manner as is done with cassava (to make tapioca). If you have access to a clean running stream, simply bag the nuts unshelled in burlap sacks with some nice heavy rocks and a stout line for retrieving, and sink the acorns in the creek for two or three weeks. Check them occasionally, the water will swell the shells and husk them for you, then leaching the acid away with the water. I don't think a couple sacks of acorns leaching in a brook would do any environmental harm, seeing as how acorns fall into streams all over the world, that is. The leached out acorns should taste sweet and have a high oil content; this was one of Euell Gibbons recommended foods. Entire Native American cultures depended apon the acorn as a food staple. Gather them by spreading tarps under the Oaks and letting them fall. You can "encourage" them some by knocking against the branches with long poles or by shaking limbs by pulling on ropes you have thrown over. Be sure to offer your thankyous to the tree that shared it's bounty with you! Give Oak some fertilizer or whatever seems right by you. Make some acorn stuffing for your thanksgiving poultry too!
From: Gene Bilney <gb0001.jove.acs.unt.edu>
I have eaten acorn bread for years and it is delicious. Some species can be eaten others, not. Go to your local library or college library and look references to the species of oaks found in your area. Some guides will say if the acorns are bitter or sweet (relative term).
Use only the edible ones like white or burr oaks and leave the live oak or black jack oaks alone (they are awful).
Shell them with a pair of pliers and toss the ones that have spots or are wormy out for the squirrels and jays to eat-they aren't squimish. Put them through a blender to grind fine, boil in a old pot you don't care if it stains and boil through four or five changes of water. Then pour the gloppy mess onto a foil-lined cookie sheet to dry in low oven. NO NOT BURN! You have to watch this. This will all take time so a wet and dreary winter day will be perfect for this. When this is brittle and dry, remove from oven and cool for a few minutes, break up and run through blender again on fine grind (use a coffee mill if you have one) and seal in air tight glass jars or old marg. tubs like I do and it will keep fine for a year or more. The acorn meal and flour is the color of cocoa powder and makes great muffins, bread, pancakes etc. when used in a 50/50 blend with white flour.