You know fall is near when the acorns start dropping. Trips to the clothesline are fraught with danger of being beaned by oak-powered projectiles. Though this may be the land of Poplar and Pine, Oaks are just as prevalent in my yard.
I've noticed that while the red oaks started dropping acorns a few weeks ago, the white oaks, especially the Bur Oaks, dropped them en masse a few days ago. I've been wanting to try my hand at acorn processing ever since I saw the beautiful pastas, breads, and even "coffee" on Hank Shaw's site (do a search for acorns once there, you'll be in awe). I grabbed my gathering basket, a couple of my grubby-handed kids, and started scooping the acorns in. They easily fell out of their caps and I found out later, were nearly bug-free, unlike their red oak cousins.
The process of removing the nut meats from the acorn shell is a tedious one. It helps to enlist some helpers for this step too.
Whack the acorn, remove the meat, drop meat in a pot of water, repeat.
After we had de-shelled our entire batch of acorns, I needed to leach the tannins out. The tannin in the acorn is what gives them their bitter taste. Even before leaching, these acorns were pretty mild so I didn't have to do much soaking, three changes of water was all it took. When the soaking water remained clear I put the drained acorns in my dehydrator to dry so I could later grind them into flour. (see Hank Shaw's post for processing tips)
With the sudden cold snap it seemed like soup weather so I decided that acorn bread would be on the menu. I used Amber Dusick's recipe and it turned out fantastically. It was hearty and slightly sweet, so good slathered with butter and served with my roasted squash soup. We enjoyed it so much I headed right back out and gathered more acorns. I'm dying to try that coffee recipe...
Tomorrow I'll show you what I did with these.
How about you? Have you ever eaten acorns? What did you think?