Making candy from acorns a good way to introduce new people to wildcrafted foods
Photo: Tom Bowes
At the HomeGrown Festival last weekend I volunteered to be one of the guest chefs, demonstrating the preparation of wild foods. For the second year in a row, I chose to be both seasonal and local.
There are a lot of wild foods available right now, but certainly one that catches the curiosity and imagination of locavores is acorns. People continue to be amazed that this was once a staple food.
Why are acorns no longer considered edible? My response is that we tend to only recognize as "food" those things we can find in a supermarket. If it isn't mass produced, it must not be edible.
Of course, many of the things in the supermarket barely pass the test of being food — a test which begins with being nutritious and includes being something you could replicate in your own kitchen, not to mention having ingredients you can identify.
My boyfriend, Tom, may be new to eating acorns, but his knowledge, from simple experimenting in the last few weeks, has now surpassed mine. It was his idea to make an acorn confection. It was a huge hit at the festival, and I promised to provide the recipe online.
Note that nearly all of the ingredients can be wildcrafted, and you can use local honey. Just the Chocolate and cinnamon would need to be non-local. Both apples and crab apples are in season.
Tom wild-harvested and then sliced the apples, and used a dehydrator to dry them. You can do the same in a 200-degree oven if you don’t have access to a dehydrator.
In a small mixing bowl, combine :
1/4 cup acorn flour*
1/4 cup hazelnut flour or coarsely ground hazelnuts (a few spins in the food processor would work)
1 tablespoon sunflower seeds
1 tablespoon dried apple bits
1 tablespoon dried crabapple bits
1/2 teaspoon cinnamon
1 teaspoon shaved dark chocolate
When the dry ingredients are well mixed, add:
1 tablespoon honey (more if needed as a binder)
Mix well with a fork and then your fingers, press into a ball, store in waxed paper.
*To make acorn flour:
Collect healthy whole acorns from a white oak tree, discard any with worm holes in the shell.
Remove the outer shell by splitting with a knife, or cracking with a pair of pliers.
In a food processor or blender, combine 1 part acorn meats with 2-3 parts water. Process until coarsely ground. Place in cheesecloth or a short nylon stocking and rinse. Keep rinsing and pressing until the water runs clear, about 6 times. The meats should no longer have a bitter taste. If you’ve use red or black acorns, this process takes a lot longer.
After the acorn meal is no longer bitter, squeeze all the water out of it that you can, and spread it on a cookie sheet. You can either leave it in a sunny place to dry (it will take a day or two) or toast it in your oven (about 200 degrees for 6-8 hours).
Any flour that you won’t use within a day or two can be kept in the freezer to stay fresher.
For more stories on acorns, you can start with this link.
Linda Diane Feldt is a local Holistic Health Practitioner, teacher, and writer. You can follow her on twitter, visit her website, or contact her directly ldf(at)lindadianefeldt.com. On Thursday, Sept. 22 Linda Diane will begin her 18th year offering free classes on herbal wisdom, sponsored by The People’s Food Co-op. The September workshop is on distinguishing between Nourishing and Medicinal Herbs. 7-8:30 p.m., Crazy Wisdom bookstore.