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9/22/2017 12:11:25 AM
Posted: 9/13/2010 5:56:07 PM EDT
Well, I've got 10 oak trees in my yard and over the years I've watched the squirrels enjoy the free meal so this year I decided to give it a try. I had the kids in the yard and they collected about a gallon of acorns. After sorting the good ones, I shelled some of them. They have alot of tannins in them so I repeatedly boiled them to leach the tannins out. I then soaked them in honey water for about 15 minutes before drying them in the oven for an hour.

The result: I need to boil them more. They're not bad but I've had better. The honey water did add a nice sweetness to them.

What I learned:
- Shelling is a PITA. I'm currently drying the rest of the acorns in a dehydrator (shells on). I'm hoping that drying them out some will allow me to crack the shell open instead of using a knife.
- De-skin then before boiling. The skin kinda sloughed off when boiling but I should have cleaned the nut better.
- I should boil them in a turkey fryer. While convenient in the kitchen, the upstairs now smells like the boiling acorns.
- I need to boil longer. This was my biggest mistake. I would let the water boil then change it out. I should have let them boil longer. This would have leached more tannin out of the nuts.
- Honey water is a good idea. With the nuts still hot from boiling, I plunged them in the cold honey water. I think the nuts going from hot to cold sucked the honey into the nut.

Its alot of work but you can make alot. From a survival stand point, 8 grams of protein, potassium and unsaturated fats make a good snack. If stored properly, the nuts should last a long time prior to cooking them, the potassium is welcome, and along with hunted meat and pine needles for vitamin C, it's not gourmet but is it sustainable.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 6:07:56 PM EDT
From my understanding, boiling was less useful than grinding/crushing and using water. Soak, rinse, soak rinse, squeeze dry, soak rinse. Like that. When you have a dry-ish mash relatively tannin free, THEN you cook them.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 6:10:54 PM EDT
Here's an article in Backwoods Home Magazine about harvesting acorns. never tried it myself, but it's an interesting idea. We've got several big oaks. If you use the search feature at the top of the BHM website, there's 4 pages of articles or other entries that come back when searching for "acorns".

Enjoy! Keep us in the loop if you try it again...

Link Posted: 9/13/2010 6:11:56 PM EDT
Originally Posted By RR_Broccoli:
From my understanding, boiling was less useful than grinding/crushing and using water. Soak, rinse, soak rinse, squeeze dry, soak rinse. Like that. When you have a dry-ish mash relatively tannin free, THEN you cook them.

I've read that as well and it makes sense. More surface area allows for it to leach easier. However, as the nuts boiled, even the whole kernels opened up and more broke apart into at least 4 pieces. If I was going to make acorn flour, the grinding would be preferred.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 6:29:11 PM EDT
I remember when my children was little, they studied the Indians in Calif, and they ate acorns.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 7:20:06 PM EDT
Originally Posted By warlord:
I remember when my children was little, they studied the Indians in Calif, and they ate acorns.

I know I had acorns once at Cracker Barrel. The indians would put the acorns in a river for a few days to leach them. For this round, I'm going to soak them and see if the texture turns out better tan boiling. At this point, this is just a fun experiment to do with the kids.
Link Posted: 9/13/2010 11:12:04 PM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/13/2010 11:12:21 PM EDT by Special-K]
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 1:27:22 AM EDT
Mostly white and red oaks around here. Bitter as hell. I've experimented with acorns a lot. I like keeping them whole and roasting them like the nuts that they are, and eating them like whole nuts. Splitting them in half cuts the drying time, and they leach-out a lot faster. I read somewhere that the native american way was to put the shelled acorns in a stream and just let the running water leach the tannins out. I tried this, and it took a couple days, but it did work. It was easier to boil a pot of water, toss in the nuts and lets them blanch and sit until cool. Rinse, and repeat. I found that bringing the water to a rolling boil with the nuts inside cooked them too much.
Link Posted: 9/14/2010 3:42:42 AM EDT
I haven't ever spent any time trying to eat acorns. I know it can be done, and have heard all about boiling, roasting and other methods. I do have a solid recommendation: Experiment with the SPECIES of oak/acorn and your success will be dramatically different.

As a very committed hunter I've eaten a LOT of browse. I'm continually tasting various kinds of mast crops (apples, acorns, etc) trying to figure out why deer ignore one wild apple or oak but completely go insane for another. It's taste.

Red Oak: A red oak is a beautiful, fast growing tree. Animals will eat red aok acorns but these seem to be the least preferred. If you taste them these are BITTER! I can well imagine that these would take considerable work to reduce or eliminate the tannins.

White oaks: These are somewhat less bitter. Deer seem to prefer these. I suspect because they have fewer tannins. Less tannins in the first place would likley mean less work to get an acceptable, palatable end product.

Burr Oaks: These are, I believe, one subspecies of the white oaks. There are a half dozen or more different types of burr oak. They all drop an acorn with a 'fuzzy' cap. Some burr oak acorns are HUGE. In any case, the burr oaks are know for having 'sweet' acorns. This doesn't mean they are actually sweet, but rather do not have the distinct bitterness that other oaks do. The tannins levels are low. I was scouting my realestate on Friday, and checked out the various oak ridges. Little recent movement in the red and white oaks, but I have CRAZY levels of wildlife activity in and among the bearing burr oaks. I cut acorns open and shared them with a friend. They are actually palatable and can be eaten raw, without preparation. He claimed they tasted remotely like coconut. Actually these are so good, and so desireable from a wildlife standpoint that I am ordering several dozen Burr Oak saplings for spring transplanting into hardmast food plot. Some of these burr oaks have been bred to produce large crops of low tannin acorns, reportedly on the order of 500-1000 lbs per tree.

You can find some interesting (as far as trees go) info at a few sites. Websearch "sweet acorns oaks" or the like and you'll get info regarding which oaks have the lowest tannin levels. Burr Oak source

If you scout around and locate the oaks in your area, pay attention to specific species and cultivars (yes, oaks have been and are being bred). There is a HUGE difference in palatability.

Link Posted: 9/14/2010 4:57:20 AM EDT
[Last Edit: 9/14/2010 5:00:08 AM EDT by TomJefferson]
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