Eating Acorns and Sharing with Woodpeckers

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERNature never ceases to amaze me. Did you know that a woodpecker has a tongue that is twice the length of its beak? It is so long, when not in use, it wraps up inside the bird’s head cavity. When it is in use, it drills down ant hills and scoops out the prey. Here’s the sad part. When there aren’t enough acorns, woodpeckers die. And you know the dead trees that are full of holes that are full of acorns? Those are called granaries and they take years to build up and support woodpecker communities.

As more and more people learn to enjoy cooking with acorns, I hope they will not forget the myriad of woodland animals who depend on them for food. It’s that time of year. Let’s gather acorns. But let’s leave an abundance for the birds.Secret Genealogy IV Cover

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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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

 

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

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

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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Cheesecake With a Little Acorn Meal… Blueberries On Top… And a Hot Cup of Coffee

The thought of it gives me chills. Acorn cheesecake is that good. And it’s easy to make. Something about acorns, whether it’s the texture or the traces of tannic acid, makes everything more favorable. But there is nothing I’m looking forward to more for Thanksgiving than that acorn cheesecake. Luckily I’ll have relatives to share it with otherwise within a few days I will have consumed the whole cheesecake myself. There is nothing better to wake up to than a slice of acorn cheesecake and a hot cup of coffee or tea. You’ve just enough time to gather some acorns and leach them. If you need a little attention at Thanksgiving, anything with acorns in it will do the trick.  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… 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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Eating Wild Foods… Leaching Acorns

Leaching Acorns

When leaching acorns, the ratio of water to acorns is important. Acorns are rather starchy and when they’re dry, they soak up a lot of water. I probably use more water than is necessary but I usually say 3 parts water to one part acorns. For example, if you have one cup of acorns, I recommend using at least three cups of water when you put them into the blender to leach them. That’s probably enough. It’s fine if you use more water than that. If you have several cups of acorns, only grind one cup at a time. And don’t forget to take the shells off first!CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVER

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

 

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