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Most people do not notice that the thousands and thousands of acorns that fall each Autumn in the Northern Hemisphere are very nutritious and good to eat!
Actually, of the prime 12 culinary nuts, acorns rank in the prime half for total diet and the healthiest fatty acid profile.
The one catch is that they should be soaked or “leached” first in any other case they are inedible from the intensely bitter style. If you ever tried to nibble on a uncooked acorn as a child (sure, I tried it as soon as…hey, the squirrels liked them, proper?), no doubt you instantly spit it proper out.
Bitter and astringent, the tannic acid in acorns is simply eliminated by soaking them in water. The leaching course of additionally eliminates phytates too, one other highly effective sort of anti-nutrient current in all nuts that blocks mineral absorption in the intestines. (1)
There are two strategies of leaching that work to take away anti-nutrients from acorns:
- Sizzling leaching
- Chilly leaching
Select the methodology that works finest for you based mostly on how you intend to eat the acorns…complete or as flour.
The profit of scorching leaching is pace. It takes simply a few hours to full. The method is comparable to boiling peanuts.
- Let the acorns dry out till they turn into onerous and have a slight “rattle” inside. This takes about 3 days in the solar. Alternatively, you can dry them on low warmth in a heat oven for a couple of hours. This makes them simpler to shell.
- Shell the acorns with a hammer or nutcracker and place them in a massive pot with filtered water to cowl. Compost the discarded shells.
- Deliver the water to a boil, flip the warmth down to a simmer, put on the lid, and prepare dinner for 5 hours.
- Add more water as wanted throughout the simmering course of to guarantee the acorns are fully lined all through.
The disadvantage of scorching leaching is that the meat of the acorns turns very darkish throughout the hours-long boiling. This destroys enzymes, some vitamins, and a useful starch in the acorns that acts like gluten but doesn’t generate the similar allergic reactions.
This starch is useful as a binder when baking with acorn flour is the purpose. (2)
Thus, if you intend to make acorn flour and do some baking with your acorn haul, be positive to use chilly leaching as described beneath.
Save the scorching leaching for when you intend to snack on the acorns complete.
Historically, chilly leaching was the most well-liked methodology for house processing of acorns.
Whereas a lot slower, it preserves enzymes and some vitamins by sustaining the rawness of the acorns. The vital binding starch in acorns is preserved additionally. Thus, this methodology is most well-liked when making acorn flour.
Chilly leaching can take up to a week relying on the dimension of the acorns but produces a superior ultimate product in each style and diet.
- Dry the acorns till they turn into onerous and have a slight “rattle” inside (about 3 days in the solar). Alternatively, you can dry them on low warmth in a heat for a couple of hours. The subsequent step is a lot simpler if you dry them out a bit.
- Shell the acorns (use a hammer or a nutcracker), place them in a massive pot and fill with sufficient chilly filtered water to cowl. Compost the discarded shells.
- Drain the pot and fill it with recent water every day.
Whereas the phytic acid is eliminated shortly inside simply a few hours of soaking, the tannins take longer.
As soon as the soaking water no longer turns brown over a 24-hour interval, the bitter tannins are gone and the acorns are secure to eat!
Whether or not you select to use scorching or chilly leaching, the acorns should be totally rinsed afterward.
This ensures that any residual soaking water that accommodates the bitter tannins does not dry on the acorns. This ensures the finest taste and digestive expertise.
After leaching, acorns should be totally dried. This is the case whether or not you intend to eat them complete or course of into acorn flour.
A meals dehydrator works very nicely for this course of. If you don’t have one of these home equipment, no worries! My favourite methodology to dry nuts is really to use the “heat setting” on the oven which retains the temperature at or beneath 150 °F/66 °C.
Evenly unfold the acorns on cookie sheets, place them on the oven racks, and flip the setting to “heat” for a number of hours till the acorns are dry to the contact.
If you stay in a heat location, drying in the scorching solar works too. Notice that drying the acorns is an vital step, as moist acorns will quickly mould.
Dried acorn nuts are finest saved in an hermetic container in the fridge or a cool, darkish pantry. They will be good to eat for weeks!
If you select to instantly grind the dried acorns into flour, it is essential to refrigerate the flour in a sealed container reasonably than retailer in the pantry. The vitamins in the acorns are a lot more susceptible as soon as processed into flour. Strive to use refrigerated flour inside a week after grinding to keep away from nutrient degradation.