We have a lot of red oak trees. The largest is about 60’ tall. It drops off a lot of acorns. I see seedlings popping out everywhere. So I just wonder if it is time to collect some of those and try to eat. It is said that acorns should be boiled in water first. Just wonder if anyone here is eating them.
I think @clarkinks collects and prepares acorns. Haven’t seen him around in a while - it’s time he showed up!
And check out this search: https://growingfruit.org/search?q=acorns
I would not recommend it.
American Indians (native americans if you prefer) ate acorns, made flour from them…similar to corn flower for tortillas.
They weren’t known to be foolish.
(But, you do have to reduce most of the tannin, although white oaks and burr oaks and some others are low in tannin…boiling would do it…the Indians have said to place them in running stream water for a few days to soak out the tannic acid.)
My guess is you’d be just as safe eating a handfull of acorns as picking a handfull of soy beans from a farmer’s field. But, too many, just like too much moonshine, and you’ll die.
We make wonderful bread from them. Just the white oaks. Shell them with a hammer and cutting board and soak in fridge several days. Boiling helps get out the tannin, too, but I don’t always do that. Then I use my oatmeal bread recipe with extra gluten added, but use no oatmeal. Put the warm milk in blender and grind up very well whatever quantity of nut meats it will handle. Put mixture into a bowl and add other ingredients. Spread dough about 1 1/2 inch thick on baking sheet, let rise and bake. Very delicious. We gathered the acorns as soon as they fell, or the squirrels get them. Then spread them in trays in fridge. We’ve also froze them, although I read somewhere not to. There were hardly any acorns in 2020.
I said wrong. I don’t put the acorn-milk slurry into a bowl, but the bread machine, which I put on dough setting, though you could use a bowl if you don’t have a bread machine.
I have a friend who wrote a book about urban foraging and did a bit of experimenting with acorns. In her experience, the process required to make them edible/palatable was too much of a pain to be worth the trouble (repeated soaking, etc.). But she was living in a NYC apartment so that does factor into things.
I remember her mentioning the detail about Native Americans putting bags of nuts into running water to soak the tannins out, like Blueberry refers to.
My dad recruited me to help make an acorn loaf one time when I was a teen (many years ago!). It was a lot of smashed fingertips (mine) and was not the best consistency (chewy), but definitely edible and tasted good. I bet our lack of experience was a factor, and I’m not sure what book he got the recipe from. We only lived at that house with the big oak trees for a couple years and never tried it again.
My recollection is the process involved shelling them with hammers, pulverizing with kitchen mallet, then into a huge metal bowl. Boiling water was poured over the smashed bits, soaked that for most of a day, then strained it, followed by a cold rinse, then pureed in a food processor before adding the rest of the ingredients. Ours was a quick bread with bananas, not a yeast bread.
If I had a ready source of free acorns I’d probably experiment with different recipes, I’m sure there’s a good way to eat them.
You can use red oaks, but white or chestnut oaks are much better if you have any on the property. Much larger acorns with much lower tannins. Makes for a lot less work.
You can tan leather with Chestnut Oak, so lots of acid has to go before it’s mild enough to want to eat.
Deer and livestock prefer white oak…for a reason. At least in this part of the country.
I have mostly white oak and chestnut oak on my property, and a couple red oaks. And a few others I’ve put no effort into identifying as I’ll make firewood of them at some point.
(Maybe post oak, water oak, etc.)
I tried it for whites and they are as plain as plain can be. One does not need to remove any tannins. I feel I have a very refined palate. Maybe the type of white oaks? They have super large acorns. They are good to go from the tree!
‘Tannins’ in acorns of the red and white oak groups differ significantly. Red/black oak acorns have higher oil content.
Western tribes, like Paiutes, etc., preferred the red/black oaks, like Q.kelloggi…acorns could be gathered and stored in ‘granaries’, for long periods, unlike the acorns of white oak species.
I spent 20 yrs collecting ‘low-tannin’ oak selections, but I’m not covinced but that groeing conditions, year to year are not more critical to ‘sweetness’ than are genetics.
Couple of books worth looking at:
It Will Live Forever;Traditional Yosemite Indian Acorn Preparation, by Bev Ortiz, with Julia Parker
Acorns & Eat 'Em, by Suellen Ocean
I have heard that you can put them in a mesh bag in the back of your toilet tank. The tank will refill with every flush and eventually leach all the tannins out similar to what the indians did with streams.
Other than just chewing one straight off the tree now and then, I have no firsthand experience in acorn preparation, but everything I’ve read from reputable sources or heard from friends who’ve actually done it, indicates that hulling and grinding/pulverizing the nutmeats is essential to the leaching process.
One friend runs her dehulled (white oak) acorns in the blender, covered with water, pouring off water and refilling, then blending again until cloudiness is gone… she does not use pure acorn meal/flour, but mixes it with wheat flour to make acorn bread.
Color me doubtful that putting in-shell acorns in your toilet tank or in a flowing stream is going to effectively leach out tannins from the kernel…but I’m willing to entertain proof otherwise.
Yes i eat acorns
Hmmm… maybe it was swamp chestnut oak, then. I know I’ve tried one of the chestnut oaks and it was good as aconrs go.
There’s a Swamp White Oak … two kinds of white oaks grow here; white oak and swamp white oak— Quercus Alba and Quercus Bicolor.
But I’m not up on all the possibilities, although I know most that grow in Kentucky and somewhat south and east. Burr oak is a giant tree, and like white oaks, can be eaten in moderation without soaking. Probably there are several in the world,
and it’s likely you all have some species that are uncommon here.
Deer or livestock will clean up white oak acorns first. On rare occasions I’ve known of a cow dying from eating too many acorns from red oak or chestnut oak…where pasture is dry from drought and cows have the run of timberlands.
Either that, or my memory is faulty. It was quite a while ago, so I may be mixing upa few separate events.
For info on eating acorns check out this site:
Neat! Thanks for posting that !