Are acorns edible? Well, the answer is yes. Acorns are just as edible as any other nut, and despite stories you may have heard from adults as a child that they are poisonous, this is a partial myth and not case when they are prepared correctly.
Acorns are by no means just for squirrels. In fact, Acorns are quite rich in healthy proteins and carbohydrates, and have been part of the diets of many societies across history. They were a staple food in ancient Iberia, used extensively by Native Americans and also feature in Korean cooking. However, these nuts do need a good deal of preparation before they are ready to eat.
Acorns need to be shelled and have their kernel removed like most nuts. Unprepared acorns will have a strong bitter taste, the severity of which will vary depending on what variety of acorn is being consumed. Tannin, the substance that gives them the bitter taste, need to be removed from the nut. It is also possible that the tannic acid would prevent the body from metabolising the proteins from the acorns, rendering them nutritionally useless. Large quantities of raw, untreated acorns without the tannic acid removed can also lead to kidney damage. There are, however, a few exceptions to this rule, such as the sweeter variety from the Emory Oak, a variety found in Mexico and Arizona.
Acorns were a staple food in the Native American diet. They often used a fast running clear water stream to remove these tannins from the acorns. A more convenient method for most people is to boil the acorns in a pot of water until the tannins are completely removed. After this cooking process they will have a similar flavour to roasted chestnuts.
Many different foods can be made with acorns. Acorns can be ground into acorn flour which has a range of versatile uses. Acorn flour will be thicker and denser than regular, white flour, but it can still be used for all the things you would think to use regular flour for, such as bread and cookies. It could also be used to thicken sauces or stews.
You can even make acorn coffee, which doesn’t actually taste much like coffee and is completely caffeine-free, but nonetheless makes a tasty and nutritious drink.
Dotorimuk is a Korean jelly made from acorn starch. This food is most often consumed as a side dish, which is called dotorimuk muchim. To create this dish, the acorn jelly is seasoned with things such as sesame oil, spring onion, garlic and soy sauce. Koreans also make dotori guksu, which are noodles made from buckwheat, acorn flour and salt.
Many people are unaware of the common acorn's ability to be transformed into so many different tasty meals. There are many acorn recipes available for free across the internet, why not experiment and try some out yourself?