How to Cook AcornsDecember 4, 2012 by Melanie Swick | Be the first to comment »
Acorns can provide a plentiful food source throughout most areas in the U.S., requiring little more than collection and preparation. This may seem an odd food choice only because most Americans have never tried it, however, Native Americans have a long history of eating acorns, and their popularity is growing due to their abundance, nutrition, and sustainability. According to the USDA, a 1 oz. serving of dried acorns contains 144 calories, 2.3 g of protein, 15.2 g of carbohydrates, 8.9 g of fat, and several vitamins and minerals.
Raw acorns, depending on the species, will have a mild to strong bitter taste from tannic acid. Besides being unpalatable, raw acorns consumed in large quantities over time can also cause kidney damage, so it’s important to leach the tannins out of the shelled nuts. The Indians placed them into a basket in a clean, fast-flowing stream, which would complete the leaching process in a day or two. Since most of us probably don’t have a clean, fast-flowing stream nearby, we’ll have to boil out the tannins.
Fill a pot with enough water to cover your acorns, and bring it to a boil for about 15 minutes. The water will become brown as the tannic acid is extracted from the nuts; dump that, and repeat the process with fresh water until it remains clear. This may take up to three hours.
Finally, you’ll need to dry out the nuts by gently roasting them at about 200° F for about an hour. I think they taste a lot like hazelnuts once processed. You can then either eat them plain, or season them to your liking.