Acorns are food for many species including humans. In my last post I gave the history and species of oaks in general, and mentioned that acorn flour is tasty and worth the effort of gathering, cracking shells for the meat, leaching and drying.
I enjoyed the above video for its simplicity and practical suggestions for making flour from acorn meat. I have done this myself very crudely; using a nut cracker that was time consuming and hard on the hands. These folks mention a nutcracker I have seen advertised and really makes the task of breaking open the acorn shell much easier.
I also found this source to be practical. Once harvested, the acorn meat needs to be ground up, often referred to as acorn meal. Food processors are great here. Then they have to be leached which means soaked somehow in order to decrease the tannin content. Tannins create a bitterness that is very hard to eat and in high amounts is not recommended. Again these folks show a very handy mesh with bucket device that allows you to spread the meal out which increases the surface area. More water can pass over a greater surface which decreases the amount of time needed to decrease the tannins in the meal so it becomes palatable.
I soaked my meal for hours and changed buckets frequently. The water turns dark brown and when it lightens up the tannins are flushed out. I used acorns from pin oaks, white oaks and chestnut oaks which are larger and contain more meat. Then I placed the meal in the oven and roasted it. I put the chestnut oak meal to dry on top of my refrigerator. This is normally a very good spot to dry herbs, but the moisture content of the water soaked meal caused mold to form very rapidly. Several sources suggest that when the leaching is done put in dehydrator or oven right away. I agree as I learned the hard way and lost my chestnut oak meal.
The end result was worth it though from the white oak and pin oak acorns. Light nutty flavor and texture makes it easy to use in bread, pancake, muffin type recipes. I typically replace 1/2 cup of organic flour in a recipe with an unusual flour and get good results.
Enjoy the video from Moonwise herbs… its about 7 minutes long, but for those of you interested in harvesting your own acorns and making flour, it’s practical and a bit whimsical too.
Judith Dreyer, MS, BSN, Writer, Speaker, Holistic Health Consultant and Workshop Presenter, Master Gardener.