When I saw the title of the article in the San Francisco Chronicle, I really thought it was a joke. Someone making fun of the trend towards eating “new” strange things.

Acorns? Puh-leeze.

Except, it wasn’t a joke. Anywhere where oak trees grow, people really do eat acorns; they gather them, process them, dry them, cook with them. It seems like a lot of work, but acorns are gluten-free so I’d be remiss if I didn’t share the info.

Disclaimer: I’ve not eaten anything made with acorn. By all accounts it’s similar to chestnut flour (which I love).

If you have trusted oak trees in your area – by which I mean you’re not concerned about potential pesticide use – then you can begin making your own acorn flour today. And hey – at least you won’t have to worry about cross-contamination!

A couple of things to note:

  • different types of oak trees have different-tasting acorns.
  • you’ll likely need 3 times as many acorns as you want, as many will have rotted or been infested with worms – but you won’t know until you open them up.
  • raw acorns are tannic, and too many tannins not only taste awful but can have serious health effects.
  • to get rid of the tannins, unshelled acorns need to be boiled in several changes of water, or left in a running stream for a few days.
  • once you’ve gotten rid of enough tannins to make the acorn meat palatable, you’ll want to roast it or leave it in the sun to dry. Otherwise it will mold.
  • use a food processer, grinder, or mill to make flour. Some people like their flour fine and some prefer some chunks of acorn in it – it depends what you want to make.
  • because acorns are oily, flour will go rancid quickly. Only grind as much as you need as a time.
  • there are a few resources for anyone looking to purchase acorn meal online; Acorno seems to be the largest operation.

For more reading and recipes, I recommend taking a gander at:

So, what do you think? Is an acorn-harvesting trip in your gluten-free future? Have you done it before? Was it worth it?