Turn Bitter Acorns Into Delicious Nuts, Butter And Flour

Turn Bitter Acorns Into Delicious Nuts, Butter And Flour by: Steve Nubie for Off the Grid News

A variety of oak trees across North America produce acorns that usually mature in early to late fall. The size and shapes vary — and so does the flavor. There are basically two types of acorns: bitter and sweet. What makes an acorn bitter is a chemical referred to as tannins, or tannic acid. Certain oaks, like red oaks, have the highest amounts of tannins, while burr oaks and white oaks have less.

Any acorn should be processed to leach out tannins, regardless of whether they are bitter or sweet. The fundamental process involves either a boiling water bath or cold-water bath to remove the tannic acid. This process can take a couple of days up to a week or more, depending on the amount of tannins in the acorns.

The Hot-Water Bath

To leach the tannins out of acorns quickly, the acorns are immersed in gently boiling water. Only brown mature acorns should be used. Green acorns won’t work, and have on off-taste. The mature acorns are typically found on the ground, while those still on the tree tend to be green. The caps are removed from the acorn and a slit is cut in the side of the acorn. Sometimes you can peel the skin off the acorn after cutting this slit, but usually they need to be boiled for a while before the skin can be easily removed.

To determine when the acorns have been sufficiently soaked, a simple taste will do. If it tastes bitter, then continue the slow boil and change the water every couple of hours. You’re trying to get rid of the tannins and without this water change you’ll simply reintroduce the tannins into the acorns.

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