Nature 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.
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
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
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.
Acorn Chocolate Cake
Mix together well with a fork:
2 cups flour
2/3 cup baking cocoa
1 tsp baking powder
1 tsp baking soda
½ tsp salt
In a second bowl mix:
1 & ¾ cup sugar (or less, depends on your diet)
¾ cup ground, leached, cooked, pre-frozen, thawed and drained acorns (See “Acorns And Eat’em” cookbook below)
½ cup rice milk (dairy milk o.k.)
2 tsp vanilla extract
Slowly add to sugar and acorn mixture:
2 beaten eggs
¾ cup water
Carefully add sugar mixture to the first bowl. Mix well.
Oil and flour two 9” cake pans (or one 13×9). Bake in a preheated oven at 350 degrees for 25-35 minutes. Cool
1 & ½ cups powdered sugar (or less, depends on your diet)
2/3 cup baking cocoa
½ cup butter (one cube) or margarine softened
5-6 Tbs rice milk (dairy milk o.k.)
1 tsp vanilla extract
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.oceanhose.com or as a paperback you can purchase 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