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:
- Backwoods Home Magazine – Harvesting the Wild: Acorns
- Honest Food’s 3-part series on Acorns
- San Antonio’s Natural Area Parks has an acorn article including nutrition information
- Jack Mountain Bushcraft School has tips on using acorns when you’re not at home
So, what do you think? Is an acorn-harvesting trip in your gluten-free future? Have you done it before? Was it worth it?