Guess what we had for dinner tonight! You’ll never get it…acorns! In central Florida right now we are blessed with acorns dropping from the oaks. We decided to try this free food which the Indians used to eat. The children had fun gathering them, and trying to keep Faline, the friendly deer who hangs around, from eating out of their buckets.
Acorns contain a lot of tannins, making them bitter and hard to digest. The tannins can be leached out by boiling the meats and draining the water off numerous times till the water is no longer dark brown. Some varieties of oaks, such as Live and White, have such a low level of tannins that leaching is not always necessary. We have Live oaks, and many of the acorns were sweet, but enough were bitter that we went ahead and brought them to a boil several times for good measure.
After gathering the acorns, we placed them in a bucket of water and discarded all the floaters. Then we set about the tedious task of cracking and shelling them. Of course any wormy acorns were also discarded. Next time we will gather mostly from the huge tree out front, as those were larger, sweeter, and the easiest to process.
We leached them, and ground them in the mortar and pestle that Grandpa bought for us on his last trip to Haiti. One of our Liberian daughters remembers using one to mash fufu in Liberia before she was adopted, so she enjoyed doing it again. Finally the ground acorn meal was ready for cooking. Following is the recipe we used:
Boil together for 15 minutes, covered:
3 ½ cups ground acorn meal
2 cups water
4 ts salt
1 ts garlic
Meanwhile, sauté the following:
9 small onions
6 T butter
Last, combine the following and form into patties; fry like hamburgers:
Boiled acorn meal
3 cups oats
5 eggs, beaten
We ate the burgers with ketchup, mayo, and pickles, just like a hamburger. They were absolutely delicious! The children all loved them and we ate till we were stuffed! They were very filling, and we have enough left for another meal. The flavor and texture was a bit nutty, as you would expect; definitely a winner!
Editors note: The following night we made spaghetti and acorn balls, which was another hit. The rest of the acorn burger kept in the freezer very well for months, used as needed in casseroles.