Last Updated on March 22, 2023 by Claire
Acorns are nuts produced by various species of oak trees, they’re typically small and oval-shaped, with a hard outer shell and a “cap” on top. But can you eat acorns? Although they’re a common sight in many forests around the world, not many people know that they can be eaten. The answer is yes, you can eat acorns.
Now listen up, there are certain things you need to know before you dig in.
In this article, we’ll be exploring everything you need to know about eating acorns, from the nutritional benefits to the best methods for preparing and cooking them.
Can you eat acorns?
Yes, you can eat acorns as they are a powerhouse of nutrition, packed with protein, fiber, and healthy fats.
These tasty nuts can be eaten alone or as part of a delicious recipe. How you choose to eat acorns depends on your taste buds. Moreover, Almanac experts say that acorns have been a staple of diets around the world and across cultures, including among some Native Americans.
Most folks use acorns for nutrient-rich, nutty-flavored flour, but you can also eat them as roasted nuts.
Nonetheless, there are still a few things you need to read about before you choose to go “acorn-hunting!”
Are acorns healthy to eat?
In addition to the aforementioned fact that acorns are a nutritious powerhouse, they also contain vitamins A, B, and E, as well as minerals such as thiamin, calcium, potassium, iron, and magnesium.
Not forgetting that these nuts are low in calories as most of their calorie contents come in the form of healthy unsaturated fats.
All of these nutritional values are what make acorns such an excellent addition to any diet, especially for those looking to add more plant-based sources of protein to their meals.
Read also: seems raw potatoes give worms!
Are acorns safe to eat?
Acorns are safe to eat, but there are a few things you need to be aware of before chowing down.
Acorns are not really safe to eat straight off the tree, or just picked up off the ground and popped in your mouth like a piece of candy.
This is because raw acorns contain high levels of bitter and astringent compounds called tannins, which can cause stomach upsets, digestive issues, and in extreme cases cancer or liver damage if you eat too many.
While there really aren’t any studies to give accurate information on the negative effects of raw acorns on humans, you can take solace in the fact that acorns are rarely eaten in their raw forms.
The good news is that these tannins can be removed through a process called leaching. Here’s how to do it:
So, what is leaching? This is the process of removing or draining away tannings from the acorns using water in order to make your nuts completely safe to eat.
How to prepare acorns for eating
Preparing acorns for eating is a bit of a process, but it’s not as complicated as you might think. Here’s a step-by-step guide:
1. Gather your nuts
Gather your acorns in the fall when they have fallen from the tree and have had a chance to dry out a bit. Make sure they’re free from cracks or holes.
2. Shell your nuts
Shell the acorns to remove the hard outer shell. You can use a nutcracker or a hammer to do this.
You can also do this by boiling the acorns for about 10-15 minutes to soften the shells.
3. Grind them
Grind the acorn meat into a fine meal using a food processor or blender.
4. Soak them
Soak the acorn meal in water for several hours or even days, changing the water at frequent intervals. The water will become brown and cloudy as the tannins are leached out of the acorn meal.
5. Make sure the water is clear
You need to repeat the soaking process several times until the water becomes clear.
6. Dry them
Once the tannins have been leached, spread the acorns out on a baking sheet and dry them in the sun or the oven on low heat.
Read also: just ate them potatoes RAW—still alive
How to eat acorns
Once you have leached your acorn meal, you can use it to make a variety of dishes, including bread, cakes, pancakes, and porridge.
Now that you have your leached acorn meal, it’s time to get cooking! Here are a few tasty recipes to try:
1. Acorn pancakes
Mix 1 cup of leached acorn meal with 1 cup of flour, 1 egg, and 1 cup of milk. Cook on a griddle or skillet and serve with your favorite toppings.
2. Acorn bread
Mix 2 cups of leached acorn meal with 1 cup of flour, 2 teaspoons of baking powder, 1 teaspoon of salt, 2 tablespoons of sugar, and 1 egg. Add enough milk to make a thick batter, then pour into a greased loaf pan and bake at 350 degrees for 45 minutes.
3. Acorn porridge
Cook 1 cup of leached acorn meal in 2 cups of water or milk until thick and creamy. Serve with your favorite toppings, such as honey, cinnamon, or fruit.
4. Acorn flour
Acorn flour is a nutritious and gluten-free alternative to regular flour.
To make acorn flour, grind the dried and roasted acorns into a fine powder using a blender or food processor. Acorn flour can be used in baking to make bread, muffins, and other baked goods.
5. Roasted acorns
Roasting acorns is a great way to bring out their nutty flavor.
Simply spread them out on a baking sheet and roast them in the oven at 350°F for 10-15 minutes, or until they’re golden brown.
Why should I avoid acorns?
Despite the nutritional benefits acorns provide, they also have their downsides.
Here are of few of those:
1. Eating raw acorns will cause you pains
As mentioned previously, raw acorns contain a high level of tannins which are essentially antinutrients that have some negative side effects on the human body.
Some of these side effects range from mild stomach upsets to severe digestive issues.
2. Bitter taste
While processed acorns taste “yummy” and sweet, raw acorns have a bitter and gritty taste.
The bitter taste of raw acorns is down to that unwanted “tenant” called tannins.
Nonetheless, tannins can be easily removed from the acorns by leaching them.
3. Allergic reactions
If you have any allergies to tree nuts, then you’re advised to steer well clear of acorns.
This is because acorns are basically tree nuts, which are one of the most common allergens.
Tree nut allergies can range from mild cases such as stomach upsets, watery eyes, itching, and scratchy or sore throats to severe and life-threatening cases such as anaphylaxis.
4. Preparation is a little difficult
Looking for a quick 5-minute snack? Look elsewhere, please!
Collecting and preparing acorns is a time-consuming process that requires a lot of patience, effort, and monitoring.
From leaching to drying to boiling, baking, or roasting, the preparation process although quite easy to follow, can get pretty difficult– Especially if you’re impatient and other readily available “nutty” alternatives are much easier to prepare and enjoy.
Can you cook acorns and eat them?
Yes, you can cook and eat acorns. But you must make sure they’ve been previously leached to make them safe for consumption. You can then decide to prepare them in a variety of ways such as acorn pancakes, bread, porridge, muffins, or even roasted.
What do acorns taste like?
While processed acorns (leached, roasted, baked, and the like) have a nutty and delicious taste. Raw acorns have a bitter and gritty taste and must be processed before eating. To put this into perspective, leached acorns taste like boiled potatoes.
Final thoughts—can you eat acorns?
So, can you eat acorns? Absolutely! With a little bit of preparation, acorns can be a delicious and nutritious addition to your diet.
Just remember to leach them properly before eating, and get creative with your cooking.
Now, where’s that acorn pancake?