Unlike North Western US, we have in Denmark no tradition of eating acorns. In USA indian tribes taught settles the art of preparing acorns for food. It has never become a major crop in modern agriculture. Oak trees must come to age, the fruit uneven from year to year, and are more difficult to harvest in large scale than corn or other grain crops.
One day I found myself under a huge oak, walking on acorns. Made me think of Nick’s article – should I ever taste acorns, I’d better pick them now! I four minutes I filled a little bag with fallen acorns – the experiment had already started!
Acorns are rich in tannins. Healthy in small amounts, as the are much more damaging to vira and bacterias, than to humans. We know tannins already from black tea becoming bitter. Pedunculate OakOak is so rich in tannins, that it was formerly used for processing hides and ink can be made from leaving oak and iron in water for some time to mature. To consume acorns, it’s important to decrease the tannin content. They are water solouble, as anybody who tasted a bitter tea will recall. Given water and time, they will willingly wash out of acorns as well as tea leaves. The tannins darkens the water. Change the water several times a day, until it no more darkens. To speed up the process I increased the acorn surface by crushing them in a blender. In this way the tannins washed out in only five days. At least once a day I used boiling water, to discourage any microorganisms from joining in.
I enden with 350 gram of blended, soaked and sieved acorns. I added 300 gram sugar, an egg and 250 gram butter. At this point I started to think more seriously about the taste. I decided on adding freshly grounded cardamom and ginger to camouflage any minor distaste. I finished the dough with some wheat flour to get a fair consistence, and put it on two baking sheets.
The cookies was baked at 170 Celcius. Normally that would be at a higher temperature, but can acorns take high temperatures? Well, after ½ hour they turned light brown on edges. Wonderfull smell of cardamom, ginger and butter.
They taste wonderfull, somewhat like italian almond cookies. Next time I will do them without cardamom or ginger, to let the mild acorns set the taste.
When eating new plant material for the first time, allways go gentle. Start with very little, then wait and see if your are allergic or in any way get ill, before trying it again.