MAKING ACORNS EDIBLE FOR HUMAN CONSUMPTION
by Myles Green
Of the many ways to process acorns to make the nut of the acorn edible to humans, all involve leaching (extracting) the inedible tannins from the acorns. One of the easiest is called the “cold-water method”. Once processed, acorns flour can be used like any other flour. The nutritional profile is very similar to almonds in terms of carbs, fats and proteins. Here we are now… Let’s do it!
ACORN PROCESSING, COLD WATER METHOD
- Get cracking! Crack the acorns open.
Tip: You can use a nutcracker, hammer, stone, brick – whatever you find easiest!
- Remove the nut of the acorn (“the meat”) from the shell and place these in a separate bowl. Do not worry about removing the seed coat (testa) of the acorn (the seed coat – a thin, often light brown skin surrounding the acorn nut).
Tip: You can use your fingers, a small spoon – whatever you find easiest! Be sure to compost your acorn hulls.
- Rinse the acorns at least a few times with water to make sure any shell-debris is rinsed away. Also remove any acorns that look rotten (these are often black) or moldy.
- Fill a kitchen blender with ~1/2 acorns and 1/2 water and blend the acorns. Allow the blender to run for at least ½ minute so the acorns become finely ground. Blending the acorns in this way will turn the nuts into flour.
Tip: Using a kitchen blender, although not traditional by any means, is an easy way to grind the acorns. Cover your ears! It might be loud!
- Pour the acorn flour-water mixture into a separate container, ideally a large glass pitcher or mason jar. Repeat step 4 continue processing acorns and water in this way until you have finished your “batch”.
- When finished blending, pour the acorn flour-water mixture into a water pitcher or large jar. After twenty minutes or so of settling, the acorn flour should occupy roughly 2/3 of the container; fill the remaining space with water and cover with a fabric so the acorn flour can breathe. Do not make cover air-tight (for instance - no mason jar lid).
- *Allow the acorn-water solution to sit (leaching) at room temperature and pour off (decant) the water from the acorn flour at least once a day. The water that you pour off will be filled with leached tannins (that's what we physically can’t digest!). Then, refill the wet acorn flour with new water.
Tip: Remember to cover container of acorn flour-water with a cloth or something breathable, not airtight.
- *Change the water (step 7) once a day or more – always leaving the acorn flour at the bottom and filling the container with new water after every water change. After 7-10 days of decanting water and refilling it again, your acorn flour might be ready! Check your flour! Take a spoon and sample a small amount – if it doesn’t taste bitter or astringent (if your mouth doesn’t pucker), then it’s ready!
- Decant your final change of water and then squeeze out all of the water from your acorn flour using any old, clean fabric (kitchen cloth, old shirt, cheesecloth). You will be left with a moist ball of acorn flour. Add to your favorite recipe as moist flour and eat away!
You may use this flour in your favorite recipe as it is now! Alternatively, the acorn flour will keep for 3 or 4 days in a cool environment such as the refrigerator, or even longer in the freezer.
Optional: If you want to dry your acorn flour for storage: spread out the acorn flour on a baking sheet and place in the sun for a day or more mixing the flour occasionally. You can also use a commercial dehydrator, or dry carefully in an oven. Make sure temperature stays below 110F - or the acorn flour will cook.