Anxious to Try Eating Acorns? Time to Think About It

Leaching Acorns

People tell me all the time that when they see acorns on the ground, they think of me. So now, when I see acorns on the ground, I think of the people who are thinking of me when they see acorns. Sometimes there are acorns… everywhere. I’ve had people tell me that they rake up bags and bags of acorns in the fall and… sigh… put them in the garbage.

Some areas have prolific acorns. In other areas, when a few acorns fall to the ground, there will be fifteen different wildlife creatures fighting over them. Vultures love to hang out near the road where cars drive over them and crack them. Squirrels fight for their share. Deer eat them. Horses will eat them too but I’m not so sure that they should. Field mice come running in for their share and then the tiniest of creatures, the acorn worms, well, sometimes they are the first to get at it. That’s why it’s important that you get there first, with the intention of analyzing your area so that you leave enough for the critters.

What do you do, once you’ve gathered the acorns? I’ll tell you what you shouldn’t do and that’s leave them lying around. If there are any worms in there, they will devour them. It’s best to… get cracking. Once you’ve cracked them and removed the shells, put them in Ziplocs and freeze them until you’re ready to use them. My husband Jon, made a video of my acorn leaching process. Watch the how-to video, Acorns and Eat’em www.youtube.com/watch?v=CG-5EDrHDhM

And I wrote a book and created lots of delicious recipes, 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

Have fun! You’ve no excuse. Unless of course, you live in an area where the acorns are sparse and you know the animals depend on them.

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Acorn Chocolate Cake Cravings… Can’t Wait ‘till the Acorns Drop

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERI think about acorn chocolate cake way too much. If I made one today, I’d have to throw a party, otherwise I’d eat the whole thing. That’s a good idea! An acorn chocolate cake party. Right at harvest time. We could all go for a walk and gather acorns and then eat cake made from last year’s acorns that I kept in the freezer.

If there’s anything that will catch people’s attention, it’s something made with acorns. They’re so tasty, it’s hard to believe that they’ve not become a commercial success. It’s just as well. The animals go nuts over them. In areas where they’re sparse, they’re eaten in a week or two. The crows and turkey vultures guard over them from above, while mice, birds and squirrels run in, grab them and run off.

I only gather acorns from areas where the harvests are plentiful. I know how important they are to wildlife. They wait for them. I’m waiting for them too. Can’t wait for that chocolate cake.

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

Hunter Gatherer Types… It is Time to Start Thinking About Oaks and Acorns

CreatespaceAcornsAndEat'emFRONTCOVERYes, the summer has just begun but before you know it, your favorite oak trees will be bursting forth with green acorns. As the days shorten, the acorns will turn brown and drop to the ground. That’s when you grab your basket and start gathering. The acorns will look beautiful in a basket sitting on your mantle or kitchen table but don’t leave them there very long. Get cracking. If there are any worms in them, they will eat your acorns and make them unappealing. They will still be good to eat, a few nibbles from them won’t hurt but make haste. Crack them and either freeze them for later leaching or leach them and then freeze them. Acorn chocolate cake… I can taste it 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

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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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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Are Some Acorns Sweet Enough Without Leaching?

I often get asked the question, “Are some acorns sweet enough without leaching?” The answer in my head is, “good luck with that one,” because acorns are loaded with tannins which is why they aren’t more popular. But truthfully, on occasion you may run across a variety of white oak that I’ve heard needs no leaching. That said, in my thirty-six years of eating acorns, I’ve never once found acorns that needed no leaching. Luckily the tannic acid leaches out in water leaving behind a nice sort ofnutmeal that’s very easy to cook with and adds both texture and flavor to a wide variety of 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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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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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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Make Acorn Bread & Cookies for Your Holiday Gift Baskets

Tired of the usual? Bake acorn bread and cookies and place them in a basket lined with a bright red cloth napkin. Add a few apples, some pears and a handful of unshelled walnuts. Cut a sprig from a cedar or fir branch and prop that in there. Giving your loved ones a gift of health shows you care. The spirit of the forest has always had a place in both the mythology and reality of this season. Whatever your beliefs, it is a time when we can stop and appreciate the simple treasures of nature and the coming light after the winter solstice. 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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