How to Make Oak Nut (Acorn) Flour

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare...

Oak Nut Flour

Seasoning Acorns

Acorns represent Just like a fine wine, acorns are better when aged. According to Maidu Indian knowledge, acorns should be cured for approximately a year before leaching. This can be done by keeping them in a dry, well-ventilated basket and shaking them at least once a month to rotate the acorns. Curing dries the acorns and allows the red skins covering the nut to come off easily. The red skins contain high quantities of bitter tannins so this process also shortens the leaching time.

Anabella with Black Oak Nut Harvest

Anabella with Black Oak Nut Harvest

Collecting and cracking acorns can be a fun family activity!

1. Collect acorns from the ground in the fall.

2. Keep only the acorns without holes and store in a basket in a warm, dry location (ideally near a wood stove or heater) until spring.

3. Crack and remove shells with a hammer.

4. Remove the red skins by heating nuts at 200 degrees for 10 minutes, then scraping skins off with fingers or a knife.

5. Roughly grind nuts and leach according to preferred method (see options below)

NOTE 2 cups shelled nuts = approximately 1 cup flour

 

Oak Nut Bliss Bar

Oak Nut Bliss Bar

Leaching Methods

METHOD 1: BOILING

– Estimated Time: 2 hours – Shell acorns using a hammer and remove thin red skin. – Grind to a fine powder in food processor. – Place in a pot, cover with water and bring to a boil. – Change water and return to a boil. – Repeat several times, watching for clarity of water and tasting for lack of bitterness.

METHOD 2: GLASS JAR

– Estimated Time: 1 – 2 weeks. This is the simplest method but takes the longest amount of time.

– Shell acorns using a hammer and remove thin red skin. – Grind to a fine powder in food processor. – Place in a mason jar, cover with water, and label with the expected completion date. – Change water daily until clear, tasting for lack of bitterness.

METHOD 3: RUNNING WATER

– Estimated Time: 1 hour – Shell acorns using a hammer and remove thin red skin. – Grind to a fine powder in food processor. – Place ground acorns in a large bucket in the sink. – Run warm (not hot) water continuously over the acorns, allowing bucket to overflow. – Stir occasionally, tasting for lack of bitterness.

NOTE – After leaching, dry the flour in the sun for several days or bake at 250 degrees for 30 minutes. – Grind nuts finely, if using for flour. – Use immediately, refrigerate or freeze for future use, as Oak nuts are perishable.

 

TIP            For added flavor and nutrition, try sprouted Oak nuts. Soak in a glass jar for 2 days, then cover jar with cheesecloth and rinse twice daily until sprouts begin to emerge. Follow preferred leaching method listed above.

Landscaping with Black Oak

Share on FacebookTweet about this on TwitterEmail this to someoneShare...

The Black Oak (Quercus kelloggii) is one of the most spectacular plants native to the Sierra Nevada to watch in the spring. After their leaves unfurl in shades of pink, red, and burgundy, they turn a bright green which could be where the term “spring green” came from. This burst of color is especially beautiful right after a rain: the bright green presents a dramatic contrast to the wet, dark bark of the trunk and branches. The leaves mature to deep green and very large with generous lobes, tipped with a bristles.

The stretching, waif-like trees that develop when growing close to other tall trees don’t captivate me as much as those that are given space to develop the massive trunks that support broad, rounded canopies. These magnificent oaks provide beautiful, dappled shade, and due to the high branching pattern, under a Black Oak is a perfect spot to place a sitting area. Of course, as with all of our sensitive, native Oaks, it is important to minimize any disturbance of the roots. The natural mulch from the leaves that drop in the fall makes a lovely surface on which to set a couple of comfortable chairs.

For spring color or additional interest under a Black Oak, consider planting low-growing natives that require little to no supplemental irrigation once established. Some of my favorites are creeping Oregon Grape (Berberis repens or Berberis nervosa), Kinnikinnick (Arctostaphylos uva ursi), Pacific Coast iris (Iris douglasiana PCH Hybrids), Hummingbird Sage (Salvia spathacea), and Alumroot (Heuchera species). Some fabulous, larger plants that are compatible with Oaks are Flowering Currant (Ribes sanguineum) and Coffeeberry (Rhamnus ilicifolia and Rhamnus crocea). Place the plants along the edge of the canopy, at least 10 feet away from the trunk, where they will receive some sun exposure.

If you aren’t blessed with a Black Oak on your property and you’d like to plant one, look for a spot that will be shaded from the afternoon sun by either larger trees or a building until the tree reaches about 20 feet in height. The north side of a building is frequently a good spot. Black Oaks are generally slow-growing, but well worth the wait. They provide year-round interest and support a great variety of native wildlife by providing food, places for nesting and food storage.