Quick like a bunny

Quick like a bunny
Gardening

Sunday, November 13, 2011

Acorns from Oak trees, Gathering, Processing and Eating

These acorns I gathered from my neighbors back yard. I also gathered some from some ones front yard. I asked first of course and they were more light in color. These in particular are more beautiful. I think both acorns that I gathered are a medium tannin acorn and both needed  alot of processing. I picked these in October and read online that August-September is best to start picking. I am late and yet new to this. Trying to get back to a simple diet of generations past. More California Native American Indian. I am integrated to survive and yet must walk backwards to continue forwards. The riddle of knowing, but never speaking of.

Picking these were relaxing and popping off the tops, very easy. Cracking these puppies open and separating the nut from the shell was painful, tedious, labor. For this batch, I cracked them open, and put them in a pot of water. Drained when done and blended the nuts in a food processor.

Take out the wormy ones and the ones with the most black rot in them(optional of course). Like the one you see in my bowl. My ancient nutcracker is in the pic. I had bought it a few years ago for 10 cents at a yard sale, simply out of a nostalgic memory of my childhood. Who would of thought I would actually use it, and this much. My conclusion is that there must be a better nut cracker out there. Ouch.


These ones look bigger than my second tree batch. Will have to go back with a ladder for more of these. My neighbor also has a burr acorn tree, but the squirrels seemed to take them all by the time I noticed she had these acorn. (Taste test to see where your bitter in the nut starts.)

Like I said, tedious job. So, take your time. You can keep nuts in a pot, bowl, or container of water over a few days while cracking them open. Just drain and refresh the water everyday or as you see it get dark in color.

For this batch I did a cold water drain to leach out the tannins. See the light brown tannins coming out.

Many and much draining. I used a thin piece of cloth over a strainer. I put this over a large glass container, only so I could observe this process. It is not important. My second batch I used another method and will tell you at the end of this method demonstration.

Moving it around with hands, or other tool, a clean stick would even do. This helps the tannins leach quicker.

Kneading good.


Still draining.

Using a stick, I mean utensil now.


More.


And more.


Now I wrap and knead.


Twist.

Knead.


Checking the meal.

Rechecking my drain water. Looking much more clear now. Taste testing along the way. Now you are done when the nut is tolerable in taste. Almost no bitter should be present.

More draining, just in sink now.

More draining. Good starch and protein in this meat.

Twist, knead some more and taste. Done. Phew. Now to dry.

Thank goodness for modern technology. dehydrate this meal at about 135 until dry. Put into a glass, plastic container or ziplock bag. store in the freezer for longest shelf life.

I put it in a ziplock, but moved it into a glass jar and put it back into the freezer.

Use 1/4 cup in place of 1/4 cup flour in any baked goods and or cookies. Add to soups/stews. Their are many recipes online.

My second batch I did not grind into meal and I tried a boil method. Taste your nut, so you know your starting bitterness. Have your nuts in a large pot with water covering, well above nuts. (Note that when you cover a pot with a lid, boiling accurs more quickly and uses less energy.) Bring to a boil and then drain into a metal mesh strainer. I only have a medium size metal mesh strainer, so I would drain more carefully in a clean sink into the mesh strainer. Only having a few nuts fill the strainer. Put the nuts back into pot, take out any skin that clumps and or floats as you boil. Fill with warm/hot water as stated before. Boil again. Remember to take your time. This process can and may takes a few days with modern everyday life, kids, and in keeping our stress level to a minimum.

I boiled and drained 5 times before I needed to go someplace.  I tasted a nut and decided more boils were needed. So, to keep the nuts fresh, I added water and ice to the pot.( note: I read online to not let the nut get cold during the boil process. That it binds the tannins to the nut more and takes out healthy oil from the nut. My bad now I know.) Covered it and went to do my errands. Came back and did five more boils and drains. Tasted a nut and decided the taste was acceptable. Dried the nuts whole and in halves/bits in dehydrator at 135 until dry. Put them into a glass jar and place into the freezer for fresh keeping.

Try it. It is great survival knowledge. It is good to experience some of how people survived long ago. Many poor American settlers learned to eat acorns in order to extend their food.