I tend to go a little bonkers for acorns. I’ve got them stashed away at every possible stage: unshelled nuts; shelled nuts; hot leached nuts; cold leached nuts; unleached nuts; ground acorn meal, acorn flour…the list goes on.
Acorns are one of the most versatile wild edibles you can forage for. Cold-leached, they make a gluten-free flour that adds richness to sweet and savory baked goods. Hot-leached acorns (also gluten free) can be eaten as nuts or used as a soup base. (Boiling the nuts cooks the starch, making it less useful as a flour because it doesn’t bind together well.) In mast years it’s possible to harvest enough acorns to last several years, which is a good thing, since not every year is a mast year.
I thought it might be helpful to you, dear reader, if I gathered all my favorite acorn posts in one place, so you could get to them easily. There will be more, that’s for sure. I haven’t written up my acorn liqueur recipe yet, or acorn fesenjan, or acorn orgeat, or acorn burgers. But I will. And when I do, I’ll link to them here so you’ll know where to find them. For now, this should get you started:
Acorns: The Test of a True Forager
Cold Leaching Acorns (three methods)
Steamed Acorn Brown Bread Recipe
Acorn Flour Wild Ginger Snaps Recipe
And btw, it’s not too late to forage for acorns. Some foragers swear the nuts are even tastier in spring when the nuts have started to sprout, although I haven’t tested that theory yet. Guess I know what I’ll be doing when the snow melts. There’s always more to learn.
Andrea Deyrup says
Hi there! It’s me again! So…. do you expend a lot of effort removing the testas? I made some cold leached flour just grinding the whole acorn up, testa and all, and it came out pretty good. I then tried the toilet tank method on some pieces of acorn with testa and they were still bitter after 8 days. I thought I’d try removing the testa but it’s a LOT of work. I have red oak acorns and the testa is firmly attached so I tried 1) soaking them in water to no avail and 2) putting them in a 250 degree oven for about 45 minutes (tested at 20 minutes and 30 minutes). This latter technique worked and the testas did rub off, but it still was a lot of work. I’m beginning to think it’s best just to pitch them in the toilet and just wait a long time until they’re not bitter anymore. As always, THANK YOU for your wisdom!
As you’ve learned, the testas don’t come off from cold leaching or soaking. After mine are cold leached, I dry them in the dehydrator. This loosens the testas. (Sounds like you did something similar by putting yours in the oven.) Some of the testas fall off as the acorns dry. For the stubborn testas, I rub a handful of dried acorns between my palms, and this removes the rest of the testas.
Love the articles! I am eager to try this in the fall, as we have several varieties of oaks in our yard. I do have one question. Can acorns be eaten, like other nuts, as in plain, roasted, once they are leached? Thanks!
Susie, yes, they can. But they have a very mild flavor, so I use them more frequently as flour.