Oct 082008

Acorns are one of the great traditional foods of the Southwest, they have been savored from peoples as varied as the indigenous peoples of southern California to the Irish settlers of New Mexico. I cannot speak for the Oaks of other parts of the country, but I can say quite definitively that the acorns of my home region are of unparalleled tastiness. In fact, I prefer them over every other nut I have ever tasted and that covers quite a range. While I once preferred Hazelnuts, I have been slowly but surely won over by the local acorns and pine nuts to the point that other nuts almost seem strange to eat.

There is the unfortunate misconception that acorns are always very bitter, but this is simply not true. ~No boiling or leaching necessary!~ Our acorns need but the gentlest of processing — only to be gathered, roasted to a medium brown color before being shelled and ground to a fine meal. They do not even need to be gathered brown, it’s perfectly fine to harvest them while still green and on the tree, as long as they have reached near their full size.

Once they have been made into a fine meal, they can be added to soups, breads, tortillas, cakes, brownies and every form of chocolate imaginable. They add a flavor reminiscent of hazelnuts, coffee and chocolate that varies from tree to tree and species to species, but is delightful in every manifestation. There is a delicated magic to these wonderful nuts, touched by faery and blessed by a special richness unlike any other food.

Keep an eye out for Loba’s upcoming post on the Anima blog also all about acorns (we are a little bit obsessed) and will include lots of lovely recipes. For now, you can check out my previous posts and recipes.

Sweet Southwestern Acorns – Another general overview of acorn processing

Banana Acorn Cake

Roasted Corn Soup with Toasted Acorns & Fresh Rosemary

Lentil Soup with Acorns

  10 Responses to “Acorn Meal – Essential Nourishment of the Southwest”

  1. Lovely Kiva! Thank you!

  2. yay! I’m so looking foward to those posts! I got more acorns today and there are SO many on the blue oaks getting huge and fat! I’m sure they will be ready in a few weeks time!!

    I love acorns too!

  3. So you are roasting the prior to grinding?
    Through various browsing, I had read about boiling…

  4. Thank you for bringing this up, I love acorns.
    Although as Alchemille has mentioned, you need to boil them. Thereby ensuring the tannic acid is removed. Very harsh on the kidneys otherwise.

  5. Ah, I see from your banana cake post (yum) that those in your area are not so high in tannins. How nice to be able to skip that step! So only beneficial for other readers to know about the boiling.

  6. Even in other parts of the country, it’s not always necessary to boil them, it completely depends on your spp of Oak, indigenous peoples always had their favorites for the tastiest and easiest to utilize.

    However, as per usual, I am intensely bioregional in nature and don’t pretend to know much about other bit of the world and country, but I can speak confidently of this area from my experience.

    And I’ve added to the post above that there’s no boiling or any processing necessary except for what I’ve mentioned. And yes, I roast them in the shell before shelling and grinding.

  7. Wonderful to hear about your acorns. Could you tell me what oak tree you are gathering from? Or is there more than one kind.

    I love oak trees. I gathered the nuts once, maybe 30 years ago, soaked them till the water was clear and made a very heavy bread out of them. I did not grind the flour fine. I would if I get the chance to do it again. Here in the NW of Montana we don’t have very many oaks. The wonderful oak tree is a symbol of home to me.

    Thank you for a lovely post, I look forward to checking out he recipes you have offered.

  8. We gather from at least a half a dozen species, including Gambel, Live Evergreen, Blue and some others I can’t remember. Most of them are small, shrubby, evergreen types though, with very small acorns LOL.

    I don’t necessarily suggest making a bread or cake with JUST acorn meal, they tend to do better if you blend them with other nut meals, flours and corn meal depending on what you’re making, plus you don’t have to use so much acorn meal up that way.

  9. Hi Kiva. Thanks for the clarifications. I’m in Europe and our oaks and acorns are often enormous! lol Not boiling them is considered hazardous to ones health. Do you have photos, would love to see your oaks – sorry if they’re somewhere obvious….

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