Oak trees twine thick above my roof and gnarled branches curl before every window. This fall a literal avalanche of glossy brown acorns fell everywhere, spreading over lawns and side-walks like a veritable carpet.
Acorns were once an important food staple, gathered in large woven baskets then steamed and boiled to leach out bitter tannins (more on that later).
Long before we began to cultivate wheat and grains, acorns were an abundant source of protein, fat and carbohydrates for ancient people around the world from Europe, Russia, and the Middle East to China, to northern Africa. Today we know acorns also contain large amounts of phosphorus, niacin, potassium, calcium and magnesium – all vitamins and minerals sadly lacking in our modern diets. So faced with the thousands of acorns that lay all around me,
I decided this was the year I would finally attempt what had long seemed arduous and intimidating process (I am a lazy cook!) – the making of acorn flour.
I chose the fastest, easiest (though not the most nutritious route to prepare my acorns) – boiling– sacrificing vital enzymes and oils in the process.
I then roasted the nuts at (another hour or so) laying them out on cookie sheets and then baking them in the oven. And I was delighted when the house filled with a sweet, earthy, vanilla like aroma. Who knew that acorns could smell so enticing?
Once cooled I ground them in my coffee grinder and came up with 2 cups of a crumbly, mildly sweet, caramel flavored flour.