Eating Wild Foods… Is it OK to Eat Sprouted Acorns?

Secret Genealogy IV CoverIt’s spring now in California and in some woodland areas, there are still acorns on the ground. After all the rains, they may begin to sprout. That’s okay. A little sprout on the acorn won’t hurt. But when the sprout starts getting longer than half-an-inch, you may want to toss it where it can grow into a tree.

Sprouted acorns have grown from a starch to a sugar state. You may notice a difference in the leaching water color. It can range from black to white, depending on the species, the freshness, and whether it is in a starch or sugar state. Just because the water is white, doesn’t mean it won’t be bitter.CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

For the record, I’ve had plenty of tan oak acorns that had sprouted well over an inch. When it gets that long, it’s growing a root. I broke it off and processed them as I did any other acorns. It was all fine.

Native Americans record burying their acorns in mud until they turned purple, and then they leached them. The acorns that I used with the long roots attached, were tan oak and they developed a bright pink on the tips. So my thinking is, the Indians were burying their acorns in mud so that they would gradually sprout, bringing them into a sugar state.

Suellen Ocean is the author of Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns, http://www.amazon.com/Acorns-Eatem-How–Vegetarian-Cookbook/dp/1491288973 and Secret Genealogy IV – Native Americans Hidden in Our Family Trees. http://www.amazon.com/Secret-Genealogy-IV-Native-Americans/dp/1500756105

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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

Everyone Always Asks Me… Where Can I Buy Acorns?

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I’ve been gathering and grinding acorns for over thirty-five years. I wrote the book on it… literally, and people always ask me, “Where can I buy acorn meal?” I never had a source. But now I do. And guess what? Her name is Sue. Not the same Sue as me but a Sue is a Sue and they seem to like acorns. I’ve checked out her website and it looks like the real deal. She’s even got a cafe and bakery. If you want to buy acorn meal, she sells it by the pound. It looks expensive but that’s because it is a lot of work to gather, shell, leach and prepare them. Here’s the link to Sue’s cafe and bakery: ttp://buyacornflour.com/product.php. Sue’s cafe is in Martinez, California. If you are in the area, pay her a visit and let me know what you think. 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

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/

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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The Druids and their Little People… Think Fairies

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERThe Druids believed in little people and that these little people lived inside the oak trees. I’m not sure they didn’t, I don’t know, I wasn’t there but recently a tiny human was found, so maybe at one time there were little people. The Druids were convinced and probably all of ancient Ireland believed in them. It’s a great legend. Let’s say it’s true, there were little tiny people at one time. If I was a little person, say six inches, I think I’d find a lot to love about a big oak tree. One acorn would be a whole meal. Little people could spend their entire life in the environment of that one oak tree. There would be branches to climb, oak galls to push and play with and there are always little nooks and crannies where a little person could find shelter from the elements. I never believed in fairies, I always knew it was made up but after I read about the discovery of a six-inch humanoid, I’ve had to rethink it. The next time you see an oak, think of the little people (fairies and elves) who may inhabit that tree. Why not? People have grown taller over the years… you just never know.
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

Eating Acorns… Are They Fattening or Just Delicious?

They do fatten hogs with acorns but we humans eat them in such small amounts I doubt there’s much to worry about. Nutritionally, acorns are said to be comparable to barley, a grain, so yes there are carbohydrates to digest but I’ve NEVER, EVER worried about gaining weight with acorns. BUT… the Acorn Chocolate Cake and Acorn Cheesecake that I make with the acorns… that’s a different story. Next time you see acorns on the ground, grab a handful, take them home and shell, grind and leach them. Make Acorn Onion Dip or the desserts I just mentioned. Be sure to invite friends to join you, otherwise you may find yourself devouring your acorn dishes all by yourself. They’re THAT good. 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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There’s No Free Lunch But There’s A Free Cookbook

That “No Free Lunch” saying isn’t always true, there’s always someone eventually comes along and takes us out to lunch and we treat sometimes too. Those of who love to cook are often providing free lunches but what we receive in return is better than cash. Thanks to the folks at the California Wildlife Foundation, Acorns and Eat’em, a how-to vegetarian cookbook and field guide to eating acorns, is available as a free download. It will explain how to gather, grind and leach acorns and provides many varieties of recipes from burritos to smoothies and has a handy field guide so you can identify your oaks. It’s a lot of fun for nature lovers, kids and school teachers, cub scout leaders etc. Here’s my website and there you’ll see the link for Acorns And Eat’em.

http://www.oceanhose.com

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How-to Crack Acorns

The best way to crack acorns is with a “Texan Nut Sheller”. Even after thirteen years it is still razor sharp. It works especially well on dry acorns. Be careful it is very sharp, NO KIDS and WATCH YOUR FINGERS!

Cracking Acorns

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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How-To Prepare Acorns

Because I have “written the book” on eating acorns and continue to receive emails from folks who have questions, I thought it would be a great idea to write a blog. I will share my culinary experiences with you and include pictures. You can look forward to hearing about my chocolate acorn pies and cheesecakes and indulge me when I go on strolls through the woods to find acorns. I also love to write historical novels so you will hear about that too …

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