Leaching and Grinding Acorns… Do You Remove the Shells?

I gather acorns. After I gather them, I usually like to put them in a pretty basket and put them on the kitchen table for all to see. They are so beautiful! They aren’t nuts but the shells are hard to crack. It seems really obvious to me that like nuts, you remove the shells before you prepare to eat them. But a lot of people are not tuned into acorns (yet) and without thinking they will ask me if you have to remove the shells. They are wondering if they can just throw the whole acorn into the blender (I shell, then grind in a blender.) I always get a little smile on my face. Throwing unshelled acorns into a blender is like throwing unshelled walnuts in there. Clunk. Broken blender. So yes, you need to first remove the shells from acorns before you put them in the blender, with water, to begin the leaching process.  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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Are Acorns Poisonous? No, Not If Leached Correctly

The ingredient in acorns that’s considered harmful is tannic acid; also abundant in the teas we drink. It is true that too much tannic acid can cause upset stomach but just as the teabag loses tannic acid as it’s dipped in water, so does the acorn when it’s ground and soaked in water. How long you soak your ground acorns depends on the variety you have. Along California’s coast, tan oak acorns are abundant and only need a week to leach. Further inland, my experience is that the acorns need at least two weeks. It’s no big deal though; the ground acorns just sit in your refrigerator in a jar full of water. You can change the water a few times a week and you’re good to go!  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 With Acorns… What Recipes Can You Make?

There are not many dishes that you can’t make with acorns. You can add acorns to everything from smoothies to chili. Deserts, omeletes, cakes, pies, Mexican food, Italian food, Middle Eastern food, comfort food, breads… you name it. Acorns make everything taste better. If you think chocolate cake is good, try adding leached and prepared acorns to it, you’ll not be sorry. Do you have a favorite cheesecake recipe? Add some leached and prepared acorns to it, delicious. I won third place in a big cooking contest because I added acorns to my cheesecake… Acorn Cheesecake? What’s not to like?

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 With Leached Acorns… How Long Do They Need To Cook?

Not very long. It’s about the same amount of time that you would cook raw oats and they don’t need to boil away, just a little simmer for five or ten minutes will do. Be very careful because the acorns like to stick to the pan, so bring the heat up slowly and stir constantly. Remember, the cooking of the acorns comes AFTER they are leached. It doesn’t take a lot of effort to leach the acorns, it’s the shelling that takes a little bit of your time but you can put your feet up and relax while doing it, even listen to music or turn on a movie. Acorns are a wonderful addition to any dish you make, the effort is worth it.

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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

Gathering Acorns… Which Acorns Are OK?

If you aren’t used to gathering acorns, the pretty little brown things lying on the ground look just fine but an experienced gatherer knows otherwise. Last years worm eaten, faded and empty acorns often remain lying on the ground. Once you pick up a fresh acorn, feel its weight and admire it’s brown beauty and compare it to an old one, you’ll understand. There’s a huge difference. Early in the season, an oak may begin dropping acorns that aren’t quite ripe or developed. It will also begin dropping green acorns. Wait for the fully developed acorns to fall and wait for the green acorns to turn brown. When the rain comes, heavy storms sometimes bury the acorns in a little dirt. This is OK. They are fine once they are rinsed off. If you wait long enough and the animals don’t cart away the acorns, these rains may bring the acorns to sprout. This is OK too as long as there is no green on it, for example, beginning to grow into a baby oak. So for young sprouts, just a little sprout is fine. If there is any nutmeat left in a sprouted acorn that has a sprout up to an inch, break the sprout off and proceed as you would with un-sprouted 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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Food & Cooking: What’s the best way to Crack Acorns?

Cracking Acorns? Acorns as food for other than squirrels? Yes, absolutely. But the first problem one comes up against is how to crack the shells; they aren’t always easy to pry open. Well… the Indians used to use a big rock that fit nicely into their hands. The spots where they sat on top of large boulders down at the river are still there, the little holes where the women would sit and grind acorns. For a long time I used an old cookie sheet and a river rock that fit in my hand. Today though, I use a Texan Nut Sheller. I found it one day at the feed store when I was buying hay. You can probably find one on the Internet or have your local hardware or farm supply order it for you. It’s the size of a pair of pliers but the blades are razor blade sharp so it needs to be kept away from children. You can open up plenty of acorns with it, solving the problem of how to get into those acorn shells.

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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Autumn: Time To Eat Nuts… Acorns Included

Here they are again, nuts, nuts, and nuts. Walnuts, Pecans, Almonds, Chestnuts and Acorns. Acorns? Do people really eat acorns? Aren’t they poisonous? No. Acorns are not poisonous if you leach the tannic acid correctly, and they’re delicious and quite the natural flavor enhancer. So start looking around, at the park, along the roadway or if you’re lucky, in your own yard. Gather a basket of acorns and after enjoying their beauty sitting on the kitchen table, try leaching and grinding them. Cook ’em up in your favorite recipe, you’ll not be sorry.

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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Writing and Cooking

The solitude of being a writer, mixes well with cooking. After getting lost in my historical novels, cooking brings me into the “here and now.” One of my favorite desserts is Acorn Chocolate Pie. I fill a graham cracker crust with soft tofu I ran through the food processor with about a quarter cup of leached acorns, a quarter cup of honey, two egg whites and a tablespoon of unsweetened powdered chocolate. I bake it for forty-five min to an hour at 350 degrees. Sitting down with a hot cup of coffee and a slice of acorn chocolate pie is a pleasure that I thoroughly enjoy.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