Food and Cooking… Toasted Acorns

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I gathered up a basket of beautiful, slender Valley Oak acorns last week. They’re easy to shell because the shell is thin. I didn’t wait for them to dry because I was concerned about worms eating them, but if I had, the dry acorns would have split by themselves, making it easy to remove the acorns. So for days, I stared at the white acorns lying in a bowl. They were so fresh, I wanted to let them dry a bit before I processed them. But every day I looked at that bowl and said, “I wonder what they would taste like if I toasted them in the oven before I leached them?” Almonds and sunflower seeds are tasty that way, why not acorns? I did it and I just turned the oven off. The shelled acorns are lying on a cookie sheet. When they cool, I’ll run them through the blender and begin the leaching process. It will be weeks before I’ll be cooking with them but I will be sure to let you know if toasted acorns are noticeably different. Stay tuned…

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG-5EDrHDhM

Do Acorns Predict What Sort of Winter We Will Have?

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Along the creek near my home in the Sierra Foothills, I stumbled across a healthy grove of California Valley Oak acorns. They are beautiful. And this year, they are prolific. I find this interesting, because Native American legend tells us that abundant acorn harvests predict a hard winter of rain and/or snow. This abundance comes at the same time weather forecasters are predicting an El Nino this winter for Southern and Central California.

Animals who depend on acorns are making a pilgrimage to these oak groves. When I see deer, wild turkey, squirrels and the biggest crows I’ve ever seen, descend on these caches, I’m reminded to take only what seems fair. If there aren’t many acorns under a tree, I leave them for my forest friends. If there are plenty, I’ll gather a quart. They need to be collected though because once the worms drill into them, they have a feast.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. Find it here: http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973

Watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG-5EDrHDhM