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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Acorns? Yes! You Can Eat Acorns!

Years ago I wanted to know how to eat acorns. I went to the library to find books on eating acorns but was unable to understand how Native Americans prepared them. With a lot of trial and error, and many stomach aches, I figured it out. That was back in the late 1970’s. In 1993 I published the book, “Acorns and Eat’em”, a vegetarian cookbook and field guide for eating acorns. About ten years later, due to the cost of printing, I was unable to continue publishing it. The California Oak Foundation has since been offering it as a free download on their website, http://www.californiaoaks.org. But now with technology changing, it is once again in my reach to print books. “Acorns and Eat’em” is back in print through Amazon’s Createspace.  In the book, you’ll find the information you need to begin gathering and cooking with acorns, including recipes. If you haven’t tried acorns yet, you’re in for a treat. They are a magical food used for thousands of years by ancestors everywhere! The book is small enough to fit into a briefcase, backpack or large purse. I hope you enjoy eating acorns as much as I do! I’m including the link to my Amazon author page but I just added Acorns and Eat’em.  People are selling the book as a “collectible”. I’ve seen it as high as $210. 00, no kidding. I just added it to my Amazon page and they told me the new edition may take a few days to show up.  Because the paperback edition is new, you’ll have to search for it. It’s the one that is $12.98, perhaps discounted to $11.54. You’ll find it!

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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Eating Acorns… Are They Nuts?

Acorns are not nuts but to be honest, they definitely resemble them. The acorn is the fruit of the oak. Popular tree nuts are pistachio, Brazil, almond, walnut, cashew, hazelnut, and pistachio. Peanuts, sesame seeds and sunflower seeds are not nuts, they are legumes. A tanoak tree is a hybrid cross between a chestnut and an oak tree. But then we have the question, is a chestnut a nut? The chestnut is a member of the oak and beech family. If you are allergic to chestnuts, you may consider this before eating tanoak acorns, but I’ve been teaching the art of eating acorns for over thirty years and I’ve yet to have anyone tell me they had an allergic reaction to acorns of any variety. If you haven’t tried leaching and eating acorns, I urge you to do so. Even in very small amounts, the acorn can add texture and flavor to many 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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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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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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Acorn Chocolate Cake … What’s Not to Like?

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

Chocolate Frosting

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

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