A Guide To Foraging Acorns

Today, we are gonna dive into foraging for acorns. Acorns are nutritious and versatile food source found in abundance all over the world. And you may not think of it that you can eat acorns, but you can and people have been doing it for since the beginning of time. Ok. There are some steps that you need to take to be able to safely eat acorns, but you can safely eat acorns.

Now, before we talk about how to eat the acorns, right? Let’s talk about how to identify the oak trees and the acorns, there are numerous oak tree species. But today, we’re only gonna talk about three of them.

Identifying Acorns

As far as the trunks go for the trees, they’re all basically really identical. You’re going to be able to tell the different types of tree by the leaf shape and the acorn shape and the acorn shapes can get you because they are very similar in shape and size and we’ll talk about all of them.

First up is the white oak tree. You can recognize the white oak tree by its rounded lobed leaves. The acorns are said to have a sweet and mild tasting flavor.

Next up is the red oak tree. The red oak trees have pointed lobed leaves similar to that of a white oak, but it’s not rounded, They’re pointed. The acorns of the red oak tree are said to have a bitter taste.

And lastly, there’s the live oak. The live oak trees have a waxy holly like leaf and the acorns are much smaller and are said to be much sweeter To know when acorns are ready to harvest them, Follow these steps. Now, you can find the acorns on the trees or on the ground. If it’s on the ground, that’s pretty much your tail tale sign that it’s fully mature and you can go ahead and pick it.

My trees are 200 ft tall or something. They’re huge. I cannot reach them. So I wait for them to fall. If you had smaller trees that were producing acorns, obviously, you would just go and check it out. Here’s what you’re looking for. You want the acorn to be brown. The cap here has fallen off of this acorn when they fall from the trees, they just splat. Some of them crack.

This one did not, but this is what you are looking for when you find your acorn, squeeze it a little bit. Ok. You don’t want it to be squishy. It needs to be firm. Here is another acorn. This acorn is not completely ripe, but that doesn’t mean that it’s bad. It is not correct. It is not squishy, it is not rotten. We can put this acorn in with the other ones and it will continue to ripen as it sits.

Now, let’s talk about eating acorns in order to safely eat an acorn or not an acorn, right? Acorns. you are going to need to leach the tannins, acorns naturally have a bunch of tannins inside of them. Now, if you’re wondering what a tannin is, it is the bitterness flavor that you get when you eat an under ripe fruit, perhaps it’s really maybe like a peach, right? Or a pear, it’s really, it’s really bitter. If you eat the inside of whenever you’re cracking open a pecan and it has the membrane and if you eat that, it’s really bitter, it’s because it’s loaded with tannins and that’s what tannins is and the easiest way that I can figure out how to say it not for the complicated def of what tannins are. Ok. You got the basic, here’s the definition.

Tannins are a group of naturally occurring polyphenol compounds found in various plant based foods and beverages. They are known for their astringent and bitter taste. Now, tannins serve several functions and plants including deterring herbivores and protecting them from fungal and bacterial infections. In addition to acorns, tannins can be found in foods like coffee, tea, red wine, certain fruits like grapes and apples and even in some nuts like the pecans, we were just talking about in human nutrition. Tannins can have both positive and negative effects. They can provide antioxidant properties and potential health benefits when consumed in moderation. However, excessive consumption of tannins can lead to a dry puckering sensation in the mouth and may interfere with the absorption of certain minerals like iron.

Tannins are often associated with the astringency in foods and beverages and play a significant role in the color and characteristics of various culinary and dietary items. Now, to leach the tannins from the acorns is a lengthy process. I’m not gonna lie to you first. You need to crack open the acorns inside of the outer shell. There will be the meat or the nut.

You’re gonna take that nut or various, quite a few. In fact, for it to even be worth doing it, you’re gonna need a lot of acorns to do this. You’re gonna grind that meat down, the nut. You can use a food processor or a mortar and pestle or whatever you have, just grind it down. OK? Then you soak your acorn goop. If we can call it paste, that one’s better.

Your acorn paste. OK? You need to soak that in water for about 10 to 15 days, changing the water every day, each day, you would strain off the water, rinse it out real good, fill up the jar or bowl or whatever it is that you’re using back up with water. You wanna cover your paste by double with the water. And then you’ll want to mix it. The tilt comes clear.

You will then leave it for another 24 hours every 24 hours. You have to change the water. That is how you leach the tannins. You’re leaching it out of the ground. Paste into the water. You’re gonna dump the water and recycle it, fresh water until the water runs completely clear. Now, that takes 10 to 15 days depending on, I guess your location or your altitude, however warm or cold it is.

So the temperature is really what is going to determine that if it’s warmer, it probably is gonna be closer to 10 days. If it’s colder, you probably go 15, maybe even a little bit more. Now that we are in fall and winter is coming, it’s getting cold. It is sweater weather and this is the time that acorns fall. Acorns can be a really good food source.

They do take a lot of energy and time and effort to, you know, do the thing, but you can, I wanna talk to you. Now, about five things that you can do with acorns. Number one, you can make acorn flour after you bleach the tannins from your paste. Ok? you are going to lay it all out on a flat surface and you’re gonna dry it. This can be done by air drying.

You can freeze dry it, you can dehydrate it. The options are there. Ok. But the point is you just wanna get all the moisture out that is going to get the moisture out and it’s gonna turn into flour. You will then be able to use that flower for breads and cookies and cupcakes. And the list goes on. Number two, you can grow an oak tree. Look at this beautiful tree.

This is probably 100 years old. I don’t know. My house is about 100 years old. So I think it’s been here longer. Edible. Yes. But also it’s a seed. The acorn is the oak trees seed. This is if I were to allow it and I’m going to actually, I’m gonna be growing some oak trees. all I have to do is plant this. It’s really that easy, plant it in some soil, high quality potting soil, whatever I would normally start with my seeds with, just put it in there, water it and just wait.

And it’s, it’s really that easy. It’s really that easy. Also a second method to sprouting your acorns. like the paper towel method, OK? If you know that one where you take a seed and you get the paper towel wet and you just allow the paper towel to wrap its moisture around it, you know, allowing for the root to come out and it’s gonna sprout. Well, if you were to take leaves and do the same thing, you can leave these things outside. Put some leaves like a bottom base. Do your acorns, do it top layer. Ok. keep it moist and they will sprout whenever the roots are. I don’t know, popping out and you can plant them. But I like to wait until about an inch, maybe two inches of root. And it grows really, really fast.

Fun tip about oak trees. They drop their acorns only once every 2 to 3 years.

So this isn’t an every year thing. We only get the acorns once every 2 to 3 years. So I do my best to collect as many as I can while I can.

There is a Japanese dish called Curry Gohan. Now, in all honesty, I don’t know what this is. I’ve not heard of Curry Gohan. I think that it’s gonna be fun to try that though. That’s why it’s on my list. I love trying new things and we’re gonna try this new thing. It’s a Japanese dish. I’m gonna find a recipe. Maybe you guys can cook along with me whatever recipe that I find any recipes I find for acorns. I will leave them on my website.

Number four, you can roast acorn into coffee, acorn, coffee. The coffee will have a rich nutty taste. It’ll be caffeine free. You know, if we want to label off all the things, it would be like vegan and probably gluten free and all those things because it’s like, it’s the acorns and number five, you could make acorn cookies. So you make your acorn flour.

Right? Yes. That’s one thing. You can also take some of your finished acorn paste that you’ve leashed all of the tannins out of, you can take that and give it like a saute on the stove. I feel like maybe you put some cinnamon, some nutmeg, some brown sugar, some butter. Make some cookies. The possibilities are absolutely endless whenever it comes to foraging for food, for finding a steady food supply.

It is entirely possible and I encourage you to try something new. And the last thing that I’m gonna talk with you guys about today is how to store all the acorns that you’re about to go forage. Here. I have a pot full of acorns. This pot is just one that I use for little trees. It might be a gallon pot but I’m I’m not entirely sure it might be the acorns that I have here.

The best way to store them is to number one, clean them up, put them in some water, rub them around, get the dirt off of them. You’re then gonna want to lay them out on a flat layer and probably leave them somewhere to dry for up to five days. You wanna make sure that they are completely dry before you put them away. After your acorns are dry, you’re gonna wanna put them in an airtight container.

If you plan on storing the acorn hole just like this. You, you, you can what I would suggest doing though is getting like a mylar bag and some oxygen absorbers. For longevity, you could always at a future point, grind these up into something, make some food if you need it. If you want it or seeds, ok? Grow an oak tree forest. You can get these anywhere this side of the road.

I don’t know. You’re going to a doctor’s office, right? And there’s like a big tree and it’s like, oh my God, that is such a beautiful oak tree. I want some seeds, go pick some acorns, grow yourself a beautiful oak tree. All things are possible if you give it just a little bit of effort.