Acorn Preparation… Make Sure All the Tannic Acid is Removed

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERStep two in acorn preparation is leaching and it is the most important factor. If the tannic acid is not removed, your acorn meal will be bitter and your tummy might ache and your gums might pucker and blister. Doesn’t sound very appetizing does it? Don’t let that stop you, many foods need preparation.

Thoroughly leached acorns are a delight. If I was loopy, I’d say that acorns are a portal into the earth and that they bring magic to your life. As I look onto the bright green oak shoots that signal the advent of spring, and watch the birds flit between them, I am reminded of the strength the oak brings to living things throughout the world.

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Rinsing out the tannin returns the acid to the soil, nourishing future harvests of acorns the forest animals depend on. The cycle of life goes round and round. Gathering and preparing acorns has us step into that earthy world, even if only for a short time.  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

… and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. Available here:

http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

 

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The California Drought… the Winners and the Losers

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Let me start with the losers, that’s easy. Anything that sucks water. The winners are the little things… lady bugs, lizards, aphids… birds. These tiny creatures are at the bottom of the biotic pyramid but just as important as creatures at the top. Without lady bugs we’d have too many smaller bugs eating our produce. Same with lizards, they eat insects. And birds, wow. Some baby birds eat fourteen feet of worms in a day. Oh wait… we like worms, they build beautiful soil. But then imagine a world without worm predators, they’d be everywhere and they’d probably grow really large but worms like moisture so I’ll not worry about that… yet. I’ll just sit back and enjoy the proliferation of birds and honey bees that are sucking the nectar out of an abundance of wildflowers the drought has brought on in my neck of the woods. It’s dry out west, yes, and it’s not near as pretty a spring as usual. And in Lake County, some of the oak trees are suffering. That’s bad news. But it is what it is. When you need some good news, look deeper into nature…for the little things. There are always winners. Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns available as a FREE download from Ocean-Hose. Find it here: http://www.pacificsites.com/~oceanhose/

Food and Cooking… How Long Should You Cook Acorns?

If you have reached the point where you are about to cook up some acorns, congratulations. It means that you have probably hiked out into the yard or countryside and bent over many times and picked up acorns. Then you shelled them (which isn’t always easy). And you must have ground them and leached them and now you are ready to cook them so you can add them to your favorite recipes.

Acorns do not need a lot of cooking and I would not cook them at high heat because they will stick to the bottom. Just a little simmer, for about five or ten minutes will do the trick. Don’t overcook them, you may lose flavor that way.

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

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Cooking and Baking: Acorns Add Texture and Are Gluten Free

Acorns are good for baking because they add texture. And they don’t have gluten in them either which is why I add whole wheat flour when I bake them into bread. When I made acorn cheesecake for Thanksgiving, the acorn meal absorbed the egg whites in the baking process and it came out very nice. You definitely need to add flour to acorns though, if you are making bread or cookies. You don’t need a lot of acorn meal to make a batch of muffins or a loaf of quick bread. One half a cup of leached acorn meal is plenty. Using a smaller amount is a good idea for beginners and be sure to mix the flour and acorns well. The way I use acorns, they are wet so I would add them to the batter after I add any liquids, including eggs.

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

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Eating Acorns: Is It OK If They Are Dry?

It seems a silly question, whether or not you can eat dried acorns but those who are unfamiliar with the ancient art of leaching acorns have many questions. I often dry my acorns first, I like to put them by the woodstove or out in the sun in a basket for awhile, it kinda helps dry any worms out. They’re fine dry. Sometimes they may look discolored (really dark) but that’s just the tannic acid. If they get really dry, they may be harder on your blender blades (and your teeth) if they don’t get ground up well. Is it a very good acorn year for you? Another bad year in the Sierra Foothills for acorns with the exception of the Valley Oak. I found a park where there were a lot of huge acorns. I’m leaching them now.  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

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Teaching Kids How to Gather and Eat Acorns

I’ve got some cute young relatives coming for Thanksgiving and I’ve been thinking about how to text them instructions for gathering acorns in their neck of the woods. They have tanoak in their front yard and they are my favorite kind. I’d love a small paper bag full. Here’s what I’ll text:

Take a small paper bag (not plastic because the acorns sweat) and get me some acorns (please). You can’t just pick up any old acorn because there are probably plenty of them laying there from last year. I want fresh ones. The good ones should feel heavy in your hand, like there’s a little ball in there. If it feels heavy then take a look at it. Does it look faded like it’s been through the summer? If so, ditch it. It should look new. Also check for worm holes. If there are worm holes ditch it.

Tanoak trees are a cross between a chestnut and an oak. Perhaps that is why they are so delicious. They grow profusely in the coastal mountain ranges of Northern California, especially Mendocino, Humboldt and Santa Cruz.  If you’re in those areas, get a little paper bag and follow the instructions above. You won’t be disappointed.

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

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Eating Acorns: Get the Worms Early

Sometimes there is a problem with acorns being infested with worms. They can ruin your whole basket of acorns if you leave them to it. There are a couple of ways I solve this problem. First off, I usually recognize that I’ve gathered some worms along with my acorns. You can tell because the acorn will have a little dot or little hole in it. If you’re lucky the worm didn’t get too far into the acorn. Once they do though, they will chew through the whole thing and a basket of acorns can turn to dust in no time. If you have a wood stove, place the acorns near the stove where the heat will kill the worms. If you have sunny weather, place them in the hot sun, open in a basket. You can also go ahead and shell them and dispose of the worms but if you won’t be getting around to them for awhile, try the wood stove or the bright sunshine (I live in sunny California).

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

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Acorns? Yes! You Can Eat Acorns!

Years ago I wanted to know how to eat acorns. I went to the library to find books on eating acorns but was unable to understand how Native Americans prepared them. With a lot of trial and error, and many stomach aches, I figured it out. That was back in the late 1970’s. In 1993 I published the book, “Acorns and Eat’em”, a vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. About ten years later, due to the cost of printing, I was unable to continue publishing it. The California Oak Foundation has since been offering it as a free download on their website, http://www.californiaoaks.org. But now with technology changing, it is once again in my reach to print books. “Acorns and Eat’em” is back in print through Amazon’s Createspace.  In the book, you’ll find the information you need to begin gathering and cooking with acorns, including recipes. If you haven’t tried acorns yet, you’re in for a treat. They are a magical food used for thousands of years by ancestors everywhere! The book is small enough to fit into a briefcase, backpack or large purse. I hope you enjoy eating acorns as much as I do! I’m including the link to my Amazon author page but I just added Acorns and Eat’em.  People are selling the book as a “collectible”. I’ve seen it as high as $210. 00, no kidding. I just added it to my Amazon page and they told me the new edition may take a few days to show up.  Because the paperback edition is new, you’ll have to search for it. It’s the one that is $12.98, perhaps discounted to $11.54. You’ll find it!

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

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Diabetics Eating Acorns… Might Be a Good Idea

A friend sent me a link the other day. She saw a story about acorns and knew I had to read it. I’m glad she did because it verified a couple of issues. One, when people ask me what acorns taste like, the only thing I can think of is that they remind me a little bit like an olive. As it turns out, acorns have similarities with olives and I encourage you to follow the link to the story to find out what those similarities are. The story also verifies what a Hopi dietician told me, she wanted to give my book to her American Indian clients who had diabetes, because she believed acorns would be beneficial to them. Don’t forget to leave plenty of acorns for the wildlife. Here is the link to the article: http://primaldocs.com/opinion/olives-and-acorns/ And here’s the link to my book: 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

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Eating Acorns… Are They Nuts?

Acorns are not nuts but to be honest, they definitely resemble them. The acorn is the fruit of the oak. Popular tree nuts are pistachio, Brazil, almond, walnut, cashew, hazelnut, and pistachio. Peanuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are not nuts, they are legumes. A tanoak tree is a hybrid cross between a chestnut and an oak tree. But then we have the question, is a chestnut a nut? The chestnut is a member of the oak and beech family. If you are allergic to chestnuts, you may consider this before eating tanoak acorns, but I’ve been teaching the art of eating acorns for over thirty years and I’ve yet to have anyone tell me they had an allergic reaction to acorns of any variety. If you haven’t tried leaching and eating acorns, I urge you to do so. Even in very small amounts, the acorn can add texture and flavor to many dishes.  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

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