Acorn

 

The following was written by the lovely Butter. For more delicious wild foods recipes, please visit her blog.

 

A friend recent told me about how a day came last month when she had no food in her house with which to feed her family, save some bones for stock.  Even though she is an experienced forager, it was the first time that she had to strike out into the woods to forage by necessity.  She fed her family well that day.  I saw the pictures.  It was a meal that made my mouth water.

As terrifying as that experience was for her, my friend told me that it was also very empowering to know that she had the skills necessary to survive.

Even when you don’t need to forage to keep from going hungry, making meals with wild foods taps into a bit of that deep primal satisfaction that comes in knowing you have what it takes to survive – to build a shelter or a fire, to feed yourself and your family.

And aside from all of that, foraged foods can make for some darned tasty victuals!  So without further ado, here’s a mind-blowing collection of recipes made from acorn.  If you need to know how to collect and prepare acorns, so that you can make one or more of these great recipes, check out this introduction.

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Hank Shaw is author of Hunt, Gather, Cook, which is a fantastic resource for people who are interested in trying wild foods.  If you don’t already own it, you can buy it through his site Hunter, Angler, Gardener, Cook.  Hank has written quite a bit about cooking with acorns on his blog, and he’s sharing several of his recipes here.  In this post, he wrote a great primer on collecting and using acorns, and included a recipe for acorn pasta, which can be used as noodles or shapes

 

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Hank has also come up with a recipe for Acorn Cake here, but the best reason to read this post is to read about how acorns are used by people the world over.

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Hank told me that this Acorn Soup flavored with porcini mushrooms and brandy is so good that it’ll give you Jeopardy Face.

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Hank Shaw also came up with this recipe for Acorn Flatbread based upon an Italian recipe for piadina, which is like an Italian wheat tortilla

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Kiva Rose, herbalist and editor of Plant Healer Magazine is an acorn fanatic.  Apparently, the acorns in the canyon where she lives are so sweet as to not need leaching.  One of the first recipes of hers that I used was that for toasty acorn-infused butter.  In the same post she includes a recipe for a rich brewed acorn tea 

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Kiva and Loba came through again, here with a whole avalanche of sweet acorn recipes.  Prepare to drool as you visit this link because you are going to see recipes for Simple Acorn Syrup, Cranberry Acorn Compote, and Acorn Cheesecake.

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Ken Albala is a food historian and author of several books, my favorite of which is The Lost Art of Real Cooking: Rediscovering the Pleasures of Traditional Food, One Recipe at a Time.  I owe Ken a great big thank you because I made nearly all of the acorn recipes on my blog this month with acorn flour he sent in exchange for some of my sumac.  He used the same sweet white oak acorn flour to whip up acorn abelskivers.

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Forager Robin Harford, who authors the blog Eat Weeds shared his recipe for Spiced Pickled Acorns  patterned after pickled walnuts.  This recipe in season with warming black pepper, allspice, cinnamon, clove,  and ginger.

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The 3 Foragers offer up their acorn cupcakes with wild grape cream cheese frosting.  Watch out world, the cupcake craze just took a step on the wild side!

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Ian of Frequently Found Growing on Disturbed Ground wrote a great guide to harvesting and processing acorns in this post, as well as a simple recipe for acorn Good Times Bread

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Ellen, from the blog Down & Dirty made a full meal of acorns with her Acorn-Molasses Brown Bread  and Acorn Mushroom Soup. If you are a soup lover like I am, I’ve no doubt you’ll want to try this recipe.

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Wildman Steve Brill sent a recipe for his acorn bread.  If you haven’t already, check out both his site and his app, Wild Edibles Full which is where the bread recipe comes from.  I had a chance to play around with his app on a friend’s phone the other day, and it is really quite nice and full of useful info.

“Wildman’s” Acorn Bread

Acorns give this bread a wonderfully soft texture, dark color, and an
overtone of nuttiness that fit perfectly with the blend of herbs,
whole grains, and my radical innovations for making vegan breads. The
result is one of the tastiest breads I’ve ever come up with.

To Blend

3-1/4 cups lukewarm almond milk or other non-dairy milk
2 tbs. yeast
1/4 cup lecithin granules
1/4 cup olive oil
2 cloves of garlic

Dry Ingredients

1/2 lb. each acorn, barley, oat, and sweet brown rice flour
2 tbs. flax seeds, ground into 1/4 cup meal
2 tsp. guar gum
2 tsp. rosemary, ground
1 tsp. marjoram, ground
2 tbs. caraway seeds
2 tbs. Vege-sal or 1 tsp. salt

Other Ingredients

2 tbs. olive oil
1 tsp. paprika

1. Mix the yeast into the almond milk and allow to dissolve 5 minutes.

2. Meanwhile, mix the dry ingredients together

3. Purée; the ingredients to blend in a blender along with the almond
milk mixture.

4. Mix 1/3 of the dry ingredient mixture with the wet ingredients and
allow to sit, loosely covered, in a warm place for 1 hour.

5. Mix in the remaining dry ingredients, transfer to 2 oiled bread
pans, shape into loaves, smooth the top surface with a spatula, brush
on the remaining olive oil, sprinkle with the paprika, cover loosely,
and keep in a warm place for 2 hours.

6. Bake in a preheated 350º F oven, along with a pan of water to keep
the bread from getting too crusty, 55 minutes, or until an inserted
cake tester or toothpick emerges clean.

7. Cool on racks

Makes 2 loaves

Preparation time: 30 minutes

Rising and baking time: 4 hours

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Lisa, of Lil Fish Studios made a sweet acorn bread using a recipe she found using a recipe she found from Amber Dusick.  Acorn is so versatile that it can be used equally well in both sweet and savory dishes.

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You had to know that Beks and her famous sweet tooth would come up with a sweet treat with acorns.  Apparently, even her hubs approved of this recipe for Acorn Chocolate Chip Cookies

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The October edition of Wild Food Girl’s Wild Edible Notebook is all about acorns, and contains some stories about collecting and using acorns, as well as recipe ideas.  All you need to do to read it is sign up (it’s free!).

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Wild Food Girl also created a Acorn and Pumpkin Soup based upon Hank Shaw’s acorn porcini soup recipe.  Acorns combined with pumpkin make for a creamy nod toward fall.

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Wild Food Girl and I have a foraging friend we have dubbed Shirley Acorn because she has such a knack for working with acorns.  Shirley Acorn is also mention in Wild Food Girl’s October Wild Edibles Notebook, which is mentioned above.  Here, Shirley shares her recipe for tangy yummy Sour Cream Acorn Sugar Cookies.

Preheat oven to 350 degrees.

INGREDIENTS:
3 cups sifted acorn flour
2 teaspoons baking powder
1/2 teaspoon salt
3/4 cup butter
3/4 cup white sugar
1 egg
1/4 cup sour cream
1 teaspoon vanilla extract

DIRECTIONS:
Sift flour, baking powder, and salt. Cream butter with sugar, beat in
egg, then stir in sour cream and vanilla. Stir in flour mixture 1/3 at
a time.

Drop teaspoonfuls of dough on an ungreased cookie sheet. Dip the
bottom of a jelly jar in sugar and use to flatten to approximately 1/4
inch thick. Bake at 350 for 15 minutes.

These cookies hold their shape nicely. They’re meant to be a rolled
cookie, but my cutters and rolling pin are all packed away.

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If you are interest for a delightfully simple and easy to make acorn recipe, have a look at this one for Acorn-Rosemary Johnnycakes from herbalist Ananda, who writes the blog Plant Journeys, and also creates herbal potions and self-care products at Amrita Apothecary.  I’m especially excited about this recipe because it contains another of my favorite wild foods – dock seeds!

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My fellow foragers at Survival in the Wasteland shared their recipe for acorn crust.  I’ve made something similar, and I’ve gotta say the taste of acorn is the perfect match for most pies.

for those who like precise recipes this one will be a nightmare, for
those who can impromptu, this one’s for you…

take one batch (approximately 2 cups) of cold leached acorn meal,
pounded or ground to flour like consistency,
cut in a quarter stick of butter or coconut oil, (this really depends
upon the amount of oil in the acorn, some are very dry, some are very
oily, adjust accordingly- on super oily ones you can get away with out
any oils… cheers.)for a savory crust you can add any herbs/spices
that will compliment th’ dish, or bake as is- for a pumpkin pie or
other sweet crust, add a measure of cinnamon and 1-2 tablespoons of
maple syrup-
spread evenly into pie pan from one eighth to one quarter of an inch
thickness, we like ‘em thicker th’ better- bake in a pre-heated oven
at 350 degrees for 10 minutes-
remove from oven and fill with pie filling, then bake according to pie recipe…

If you have more acorn flour left over, bake it just as above, but
instead of topping it with a pie, eat it like crackers…. mmmmm

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One of the points I try to make with the Wild Things Round Up is that you don’t have to be living in a cabin in the woods in order to forage.  Little Homestead in the City illustrates this point perfectly well by making Acorn Pancakes with acorns foraged from Pasadena, California.

Here’s the recipe.

1 cup (minus 1 tablespoon) flour
1 tablespoon acorn flour
1 teaspoon sugar
2 teaspoon baking powder
1 egg
1 cup milk
2 tablespoon oil

Mix together dry ingredients.   In separate bowl beat egg then add
milk and oil.  Add this liquid mixture to dry ingredients.  Do not
over mix.  Mixture should look a little “clumpy.”   Serve warm with
honey, apple sauce or fruit syrups.

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In honor of the Wild Things round up, I re-posted my recipe for Acorn Macarons with a Boozy Buttercream, which also utilize Kiva’s acorn-infused butter.

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If you want the ultimate in acorn luxury, try out my recipe for Acron Blini.  Just don’t tell anyone that they’re actually just little pancakes.

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I don’t often make desserts because I’m not into sweets.  But these Acorn Frangipane Tarts struck just the right balance for me.  Frangipane is usually made with almond, but I found the acorn to be even more delicious in the recipe.

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I’m a lazy celiac, and don’t often bother with bread.  But once I tasted deep, dark, molasses-y acorn, I just knew that it would make an amazing Acorn Mock Rye Bread perfect for creating a deli-style Reuben.

 

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If you are looking for a very simple recipe to make with your precious acorn flour, then try my
Acorn-Crusted Rabbit.  This crust would work equally well with a large variety of meats, from pork, to chicken, to fish.

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I’d like to send out a great big thank you and some bear hugs to everyone who participated this month, and made this the most successful Wild Things yet.  Check back soon to find out what is in store for Wild Things next month.  I promise, the theme is one that will have everyone wanting to share a recipe.

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