Eating Like Squirrels

A delicious acorn burger!

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.

The acorn pickers!

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:

Cracking and shelling

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
  • Sautéed onions
  • 3 cups oats
  • 5 eggs, beaten

Grinding & mashing

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!


Bug out Bags

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.



4 thoughts on “Eating Like Squirrels

  1. Love the idea!! Dan’s comment was: wow, that would take a long time to crack and shell enough to use! Yet we do that with other nuts and don’t think anything of it. Dan also said that growing up he always wanted to try to eat acorns but he was told they are poison, we are wondering if maybe they are to horses and that’s why his family thought they would be to humans as well? Take care, CS


    • I’ve read that acorns are toxic for horses, although our horses have all been seen eating them, and they have shown no ill effects. Our oaks produce acorns with less tannins than some, so maybe that makes a difference. In the wild deer, turkeys, and hogs fatten up on them for the winter. It does take time to crack and shell them all, but we are amazed at how many meals we have made for our family with just a few hours of two girls doing the job. We’ve only eaten half of what was harvested and processed so far, and we already used it for three meals. The rest is in the freezer…


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