It appears that today eating acorns is a trendy food source for not only squirrels, deer, chipmunks, wild turkeys, and other wild animals but for people too. Native Americans have used acorns as a food source for years. Although there are some varieties of the Oak Tree’s seed that contain marginal amounts of tannin you wouldn’t want to eat the acorns raw. You’ll want to remove the tannin by grinding the acorn and leaching out the tannin with multiple water rinses until it looses that bitter taste. It does not have gluten like wheat, rye and barley.
Bitter tasting tannin is the Oak tree’s way of protecting its seed and can cause “nausea, an irritated stomach, even a chance of throat and nose cancer” according to WebMD if eaten in large amounts. That said we find tannin in many foods including coffee, tea, bananas and herbal remedy’s.
Where can we find Oak Trees and their acorns? The Oak tree or shrub belongs to the Beach tree family and is found in the northern hemisphere There are about six-hundred species including deciduous and evergreen varieties found in cool climates to tropical as far south as North Africa with North America having the most species. A large oak tree can produce 10,000 acorns in a productive or mast year. Sustainability seems to be the next question should humans choose to compete with wild life for this valuable food source.
If you don’t have access to acorns where you live you may be wondering where you can get some. You may want to get acquainted with someone like Acorno Acorns who sells handpicked from the ground acorns from Northern Vermont, Pennsylvania and Arkansas. They sell Northern Red Oak, White Oak Acorns, and Pin Oak Acorns by the pound, sun dried and pesticide free. You don’t have to eat them if you’re looking to used them in crafts and other displays.
If you’re looking to make your own gluten free acorn flour Tyrant Farms in Greenville, South Carolina has a thorough guide based on their experiences. Or you could check out Wikihow or Adeldor DIY, other good information sources. Good recipes for acorn flour can be found in Acorn Foraging by Alecia Bayer and Acorn: Recipes for the Forgotten Food by Julie Martin and Eddie Starnater.
- Banner photo by MabelAmber