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