Get ready to fall in love with acorns.
The smell of roasted acorns is my all-time favorite fall scent. There is no taste or smell quite like it. Our entire family loves this seasonal staple that we’ve been foraging for about fifteen years.
Every August or early September, my husband, my kids and I start gathering bags of acorns. We collect them at church, at parks, at friends’ houses and anywhere else where we find a nice stash of them. We’ve even harvested them on vacation when we found some fabulous white oak acorns while visiting a historic area in Iowa.
Various members of our family help with all the steps of acorn processing. The little ones help play “sink or float” when we discard the nuts that float. My husband and older kids crack the shells and pare off any bad spots, then we leach out the bitter tannins with either hot or cold water leaching. We roast or dry our final product, and begin cooking all kinds of wonderful treats with our bounty.
At this point, our whole house smells of the amazing aroma of acorns. It’s a smell I can never quite get enough of, and I often pop open a mason jar of nuts in the weeks that follow just to inhale that intoxicating scent.
The flavor of acorns is so distinct and almost buttery. The nuts can be ground into acorn flour or enjoyed in all kinds of dishes.
We started out using our acorn flour to make acorn bread and muffins, which are absolutely delicious. Acorn flour is also fantastic to add to breading for fried foods, plus is makes a wonderful addition to pancakes, breads, cookies and more. Over the years, we expanded our acorn repertoire into acorn pancakes, waffles, mini donuts, pie crusts and other baked goods. We began using chopped acorns for dishes like pasta and dips, along with making flavored butters, extracts, coffee and other basics. Further experimentation led to acorn ice cream, acorn-rice patties and lots of other new favorites.
Since acorn meal works very similarly to corn meal, that led to lots of wonderful new takes on classics like polenta, tamales and hush puppies. And Thanksgiving wouldn’t be the same at our house without the intoxicating aroma of acorn stuffing.
It’s a bit of work to forage and process acorns, but part of the fun is in the process, especially for children. And they are far easier and more fun to process than some other wild nuts, such as black walnuts.
When we first started, my husband found many conflicting instructions online so he experimented until he came up with the way that works best for us. We now have acorn processing down to a science, and every member of the family takes part.
In Acorn Foraging: Everything You Need to Know to Harvest One of Autumn’s Best Wild Edible Foods, with Recipes, Photographs and Step-By-Step Instructions, I’ll share the history and nutritional benefits of acorns, plus how to:
- Find acorns
- Easily sort out the good from the bad
- Process your acorns in a variety of ways
- Make acorn flour and meal
- Store acorns and acorn flour so it stays fresh
- Cook over 90 delicious sweet and savory recipes for acorn pancakes, donuts, drinks, soup, meatballs, fritters, stuffing, ice cream, cookies and much more.
I hope that by the time we’re done, you’ve mastered gathering this wonderful wild food yourself and acorns are as well loved by your family as they are by ours.
The book is now available on Kindle. Paperback version coming soon!
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