Sunday, January 9, 2011
All Oak acorns (Quercus species) are edible, though some are a good bit sweeter than others. However, if you simply shell one of the seeds and take a bite, it's likely that you'll immediately be turned off by the very astringent, burning quality typical of most oak nuts.
Eating too many acorns that have not been leeched of the tannic acid can cause damge to the kindneys.
Fortunately, you can leach out the tannic acid that makes them bitter, and the easiest way to do so is to shell the acorns, smash them into thirds, wrap the pieces in a cloth, and place them in a stream for a day. If the acorns still have a bitter flavor, you can leave it in the stream a little longer. Another method is to boil the nuts, changing the water frequently, until the bitternes is gone.
Once leached, the acorns can be eaten raw, toasted, added to soups or stews, or pounded fine and mixed with wild-grain flours to make bread. They are a valuable source of proteins and carbohydrates that's available from early fall until well into the next spring. And acorn sprouts can be prepared in the same ways as the nuts themselves, or in the case of most white oak species can be eaten right off the ground.
Acorns have protein (8 percent) and fats (37 percent) and are high in calcium and other minerals. Acorns leave a sweetish aftertaste, making them very good in stews, as well as in breads of all types. They are rich in complex carbohydrates, minerals, and vitamins while they are lower in fat than most other nuts. They are also a good source of fiber.
Stay Prepared! Stay Alive!