Thursday, November 3, 2011

Gather, Prepare and Eat Acorns

The other day on my walk, I noticed there were a lot of acorns on the ground. I know they were the staple food source for California Indian people for centuries, so I knew they were edible. In fact, at different times in my life when I was spending time with Native People, I cooked and prepared them myself. I decided to try it again.

I gathered acorns over a couple of days, let them sit for a few days, then cracked them open taking out the nuts inside. I soaked them overnight to loosen the brown skin on the nut, then removed the skins. I ground them in my Vitamix to the size of coffee grounds. I put them in cold water and poured off the water about a dozen times.
Today I am cooking the mush. It is creamy and smooth, with a mild flavor.

Acorn has a high level of protein. It was the staple food for California native people for generations until Europeans came with their animals, which escaped and fed off the acorns making it unavailable to the people. It has been said that is this the main reason the native people were forced to go to the missions...for food after their own food source was taken by the animals.

Acorn is a nut and after the tannins are removed by processing, has a light nut flavor. Tannins create a bitter taste and are not good for our liver, so must be removed, but it is not poisonous. All types of acorn can be eaten. Some have more tannin than others and so take more processing before eating.

Check out this website: Acorn Recipes and Acorn Preparation

A great website, which although it is low tech...has everything you need to know about acorn.

I think it is very useful for us to know about 'wild foods' and how to prepare them. Find out what grows naturally near you or within a short distance, that you can use for food or medicine. Learn how to prepare these items, including seeds, nuts, berries, sea vegetables, leaves, roots, mushrooms, and fruit. This will be beneficial to you in many ways:

1) it will get you out in nature, walking and being observant,
2) you will be learning something new, including the cycles of nature,
3) you will see that you are not at the mercy of the supermarket down the street - which will empower you and help you feel more secure.

Knowing that everything you REALLY need is available and within your reach is a good feeling. It is empowering to collect and prepare wild foods.

Hopefully, we won't need to rely on these things to survive, but will just add them to our diet for variation and fun. Have a wild foods dinner with your friends.

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