Friday, October 11, 2013

Celebrating Autumn: Making Acorn Flour

Note: All photos in this posting are borrowed from the internet.

My grandmother taught me to make acorn flour 
about 45 years ago. 

You can use any type of acorn, 
but the big sweet acorns 
from the Northern Red Oak and the White Oak 
make the best (and easiest) flour.

The smaller the acorn, 
the more bitter (tanins)
and the more difficult to shell.

Northern Red Oak

Northern Red Oak

White Oak

A basket full of THESE acorns is enough to make my heart sing!

An easy way to shell acorns 
is to put them on a cookie sheet 
and pop them in a 325 degree oven for a few minutes. 
The moisture inside the shell makes them POP open. 
Once they pop, the shells come off easy just with your fingers.

Next, blend them up with some water in the food processor. 
(Grandma used a rock, 
then in later years ground them in a handcranked grinder)

She used a mill like this one - an old Corona.

Once the nuts are ground,
pour the meal into a colander lined with cheesecloth 
and run under continuous cold water,
tasting and stirring occasionally, 
until the meal is no longer bitter. 

This takes about 10 minutes, no longer.  

Next, lay the meal out on the cookie sheet again 
no more than 1/2-1 inch thick.
Pop it back into the oven at about 300 degrees 
and toast it.

Once it's dry, grind it in a flour mill.

The toasting makes a lovely golden brown flour 
and the flavor is greatly improved.

Grandma made acorn pancakes and acorn cake every fall.
It is a much beloved memory.

If you don't know where to find acorns,
try calling your local parks and recreation department.
Portland, Oregon has a webpage 
for "Urban Edibles" that is handy.

Enjoy the Autumn Harvest!

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