Sunday, February 16, 2014

Acorn Meal

I find it comforting to know that if all the systems collapse and I have to forage in the woods for food, I know how to make acorns edible. On the other hand, it would be much more difficult to do render acorns edible without my food processor and oven. Acorn meal is an exotic and flavorful addition to a number of recipes. Refer to my acorn bread recipe for a basic use for acorn meal.

To make acorn meal you first collect acorns. The smaller the cap, the less bitter the acorn. To begin with, you pound the acorn with a hammer to crack it open and then you remove the outer shell. Once you have a stack of inner acorn meat, you throw that into your food processor and spin it until it is ground down into a fine meal.

Next you must leach the acid out of the acorns so that they are no longer bitter. Put approximately 1 cup of acorn meal into a jar and cover it with approximately 2 cups of water. Put a cloth napkin over the top and hold it in place with a rubber band. Let the acorn meal stand in the water. The Natives would leach the acid out of acorn meal in the old days by letting it sit in a flowing stream of clean water. It takes about a week to remove the acid from the acorn meal. Change the water at least once every day. Twice is better. During the course of the week, the water will become clearer. You can take a little taste of the acorn meal to see if it tastes bitter, but after a week of soaking in the water, the acorn meal should be relatively free of acid.

Spread the acorn meal out on a cookie sheet lined with parchment paper. Put it in the oven on a very low temperature, about 150° or 175°, for 3-4 hours until it is dry. It will turn dark in color. You can also put the acorn meal on top of a wood stove for a couple of days to dry out slowly, or use a food dehydrator to dry it. Once it is basically dry, throw it back into the food processor to separate out the individual pieces. Store it in the freezer so that it doesn’t lose nutritional value. 

Eat well, be well, live deliciously!

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