Can you eat acorns? Are these oak trees nuts edible? What is oak toxicity? Squirrels love them, right? They are not that tasty when eaten raw because of the bitterness from the tannins, especially in their skin. We will show you that you can make acorn flour or starch (really high in fat, carbs, and other nutrients, by the way, and makes a great-tasting cookie!), and acorn oil for cooking, or have a roasted acorn meal. You may need an oven or food dehydrator, as well as a small coffee grinder or blender for our tips.
If you are on a weight loss diet, then you are accustomed to avoiding excessive amounts of carbs, speedy ones.
Yes, carbs give us energy, nourish our brain, but their excess turns into fat in the body.
Complex carbs in grains or cereals provide our body with energy for a long time and are digested more slowly. Therefore they are more useful,
Simple carbs, such as those found in chocolate or honey, quickly saturate our body but also quickly leave it.
The human body needs carbohydrates for healthy functioning, but not as much as most of us are used to.
It is not at all difficult in everyday life to go to the store and grab something that contains carbs. Rather it is more difficult to balance your diet to keep carbs at the required level. Chocolates, chips, desserts, bread, sauces, everything contains carbs.
But what we do not usually think about is where to get carbs in the wild nature.
Of course, some carbs are found in meat and fish, but which product is easier to get and rich in carbohydrates?
We are sure that you have seen it thousands of times, but you did not even think that you can eat it, and even more, it is a rich source of carbs. We are talking about acorns.
Acorns contain carbs, fat, and even protein. So people can get the necessary energy from them.
In our article, we will consider edible, how to eat acorns, whether there are dangerous acorns, how to store them, what can be prepared from them, and much more.
Can You Eat Acorns?
In general, yes, you can eat them, but it is not recommended to consume acorns raw.
Some even believe that acorns are poisonous, and it is easy to believe if you ever have tried a raw acorn.
Its taste is unlikely to be liked by anyone because a large number of tannins makes it terribly bitter. And in the mouth, there will be an unpleasant sensation of dryness and chalk.
Eating raw acorns, unfortunately, can lead to poisoning or health problems. We must warn you of the dangers that hide in a raw acorn.
Dangers of Raw Acorns
If you overeat raw product, then you may be overtaken by nausea because of the excessive content of tannins.
Also, excessive consumption of buds or acorns can lead to poisoning, which is an advanced stage that can lead to serious problems with the kidneys or gastrointestinal tract. Therefore, you should be careful.
The use of processed acorns is not dangerous.
If you are on the verge of starvation, then eating acorns, even raw, can save you in the absence of other alternatives.
Take a look at the picture showing the benefits of acorns.
Acorns are rich in protein, carbs, and fats, so eating them in a survival situation will help you last longer.
But of course, there are less dangerous, and most importantly, more enjoyable ways of eating acorns.
These methods do not carry any danger, and you can get all those useful substances that this wonderful product is rich in. You will have to subject it to special processing, but it will be worth it.
So, here are three foods you can get from acorns and use in cooking:
Step 1: Collect Acorns
Pay attention to damage when picking acorns. If there are chips, any holes, it is better not to take such acorns.
First, water can get there, which can ruin the acorn.
Secondly, oak weevil larvae can live in the holes. Doubt you want to eat them.
Therefore, it is better to remove all rotten acorns and those with larvae.
You can start harvesting as soon as the acorns begin to fall to the ground. Collect directly from the ground.
If the oak is in a clean place, you can harvest the acorns with a shovel and then sort them out.
There are usually many oak trees in city parks or even in parking lots. You might have oaks in your back yard. It is straightforward to collect fallen acorns in a parking lot if the tree is growing on a “green island.”
Collecting acorns is quick and easy. Does not require any special skills or dexterity.
Types of Oak Trees
Oaks are widespread in North America, and more than one tree species grows. Accordingly, acorns have a huge number of species.
You do not have to try to learn all of them. Just know which oak trees grow in the neighborhood.
You need to know the type of oak, and accordingly, the acorn, to understand the composition of the acorn. Acorns contain varying amounts of protein, fat, and carbs. And according to the composition, choose the most suitable processing method.
We recommend the book “Trees of North America” to identify species.
If you do not want to go into details, you can learn to distinguish between white oak and red oak.
Please take a look at our table to mark their differences in properties visually.
|Frequency of production||
|Period of availability on ground||
If you decide to make flour from fat acorns (like Live, Black, and Red oaks), it will be stored less than flour from drier acorns.
It is easier to make flour from large acorns because it will be easier and less time to clean it.
Choose sweet acorns with fewer tannins. For example, Blue, Pin, Valley, Emory, Burr, and White oaks.
Step 2: Clean Acorns
You will want to remove all the bitterness from acorns, firstly, it tastes better, and secondly, it is healthier. This can be done in two ways:
- use boiling water
- cold-leach in water
We favor water leaching more, as its results are better. The cold leaching process is not an easy one, but you get a better product.
We will tell you more about how to carry out this process.
You can get a visual instruction in this video:
Let’s take a look at what you need to do:
- 1. Peel the acorns. You can remove the shell from mature acorns by cutting or splitting them. With the younger green acorns, you will have to tinker a little longer. Their shells are still soft, and you will need more effort.
- Remove the skin. Under the shell, the acorns will have a dark skin-like covering, which must also be removed since this is where most tannins are hiding. Here, the opposite is true — the skin will go away faster from young acorns. There are several life hacks. You can try pre-freezing the acorns for a few days, then defrosting and removing the skin. Alternatively, the easiest way might be to dip the acorns in water, take them out and leave for 10 minutes to absorb the water. This will make it easier to remove the skin.
- Soak the acorns
After you have cleaned the acorns, you should immediately put them in cold water. The acorn turns dark without its skin. Putting them in water will help avoid oxidation and make the color lighter and more similar to regular flour.
This must be done with all acorn kinds, even valley oak acorns. Although they contain fewer tannins, still there are too many of them for humans.
Step 3: Process Acorns
After cleaning the acorns, the next stage of processing acorns begins. It is easy but requires a bit more time and manipulation. You will need a strong blender, a food processor, a large glass jar with a lid, water, and a cool dark place.
Let us analyze these actions also point by point:
- Make liquid acorn meats. Take your strongest blender, add water to the acorns (usually 50/50) and crush everything into a thick soup.
- Place the ground acorns in a jar without draining. Put the lid back on and shake the jar to mix well.
- Place the jar in the refrigerator or other dark and cool place overnight.
- Take out the jar. You will see that the acorn particles have settled to the bottom of the jar. You need to carefully drain the water without touching the acorn particles and then add fresh cold water (do not use warm or hot water). Then close the jar again, shake it, and put it in a cold place.
The fourth step will have to be repeated daily for a long time. This is done to remove all harmful substances and bitterness from acorns. The water washes away tannins and chemicals.
Try the acorn particles after a few days. If the taste is soft without bitterness, then you can get it. If not, repeat the process a few more times and try again.
Step 4: Dry And Grind Acorns
So we have done most of the pre-processing already, and in theory, you could eat that way, but it tastes better to have a more processed end product. Therefore, let’s move on to the next manipulations. You need to make something more like acorn flour out of the resulting mass. For this process, you will need a fine cheesecloth, strainer, baking sheet, and oven or food dehydrator, food processor, or grain mill.
1. Cover the strainer with cheesecloth, and then pour your mixture into it.
2. Wait for all the water to drain into the sink.
3. Wrap a cloth around the mass to form a bag and squeeze out the water to keep the mass as dry as possible.
4. Place the mixture on a baking sheet. Smooth to form a thin layer. If there is too much acorn meal, it is better to do it in several passes or use a few baking or cookie sheets.
5. Place the trays in the oven on low heat. If you have a food dehydrator, use it.
Take your time with the last point. You need to dry the acorn meal as best you can, so it may take a few hours to remove all water.
After drying, you can already use it as is, i.e., coarse-textured meal, or move on.
6. You can grind the meal into real acorn flour. To do this, use a blender or a quality flour mill.
7. Sift the ground meal, and that’s it. Your acorn flour is ready to use.
How To Use Acorn Flour
A big plus of such acorn flour is that it is gluten-free and is suitable even for those who do not eat gluten products.
Here are some ideas on how to use acorn flour or acorn meal:
- For sauces or soups instead of a thickener
- For biscuits, bars, or other dense baked goods recipe.
- Mix with traditional wheat flour to increase the amount of flour and reduce the nutty flavor.
How To Store Acorn Flour
Compared to regular flour, acorn one contains more fats and therefore deteriorates faster. Therefore, it is better to store it in a colder place like a fridge or (if you do not need it and want to increase the shelf life) in the freezer.
For storage, you can use mylar bags with air absorbers, or if they are not available, then tightly closed jars.
To Sum Up
As experienced survivors, we are used to looking for opportunities where others cannot see them. Oaks are widespread, so bumper crop acorns are usually not difficult to find.
Now you know that not only squirrels but we, humans, can eat acorns. The main thing is to process them correctly.
Yes, you can hardly hold out only on this product for a long time. But you can diversify your diet well, add something interesting to your dishes and increase the number of your supplies. With a little imagination, you will have amazing options to delight you.
So we can say that prepper will find food everywhere.
In our extensive blog, read about the most important survival subjects:
How do you prepare acorns to eat?
To make acorns edible, it is best to prepare them. Regardless of which species you collect — red oak acorns, brown acorns, white oak acorn, red oak ones, or whatever, it is better to process them before consuming them to get rid of tannins.
Our favorite way is to make oak nuts flour, but there are other ways. You can make acorn coffee, acorn brittle, or eat roasted acorns.
Can you roast acorns and eat them?
Cooking acorns can be varied. For example, you can roast them. Peel the nuts and wet them a little. Place on a cooking sheet and season with salt. Next, bake for about 20 minutes in the oven or use a frying pan and fry over a fire. Nothing complicated is required for this recipe. When the acorns are ready, they will take on a bit of dark brown hue and the smell of roasted nuts. Native Americans have been using oak tree nuts for human consumption since ancient times.
Can you eat live oak acorns?
Yes, people can eat acorns from live oaks. But since this food is a rich source of tannins, you must first properly process the acorns and soak them in water (you can use the boiling water method or cold leach).
What can I do with fallen acorns?
Collect the fallen acorns, and you can cook something interesting from them. Most people probably do not know that we can eat acorns. When cooked properly, it is a delicious food rich in carbs. One of the best options will be to make flour. But you can use acorns for food in other ways — make oil, fry them. But in any case, you first need to get rid of the excess amount of tannins because the oak tree nut is a source of not only carbs and fats but also tannins. So gathering acorns will not only clean up your yard but also help you prepare food.