Acorns

Burr Oak Acorn on Nutcracker

There are thousands of wild edible plants that grow in Texas and the folks over at Useful Wild Plants of Texas Inc. are working hard to document them all in their multi-volume, groundbreaking work titled  Useful Wild Plants of Texas, the Southeastern and Southwestern United States, the Southern Plains, and Northern Mexico. The focus of my much-smaller book is simply on the wild edible plants of Texas that are:

  • easy to find;
  • abundant and not endangered;
  • tasty;
  • useable in everyday cooking;
  • relatively easy to identify (and therefore difficult to mistaken for a toxic plant);
  • found in urban and rural areas; and
  • present in at least half of the state.

Acorns definitely make the cut. However, making them tasty does require a bit of work. Here’s a quick rundown on how to process them:

1. Shell them and discard the rotten ones

Burr Oak Acorn – 1. Shelled & 2. With Cap

2. Boil or soak them in hot water to leach out tannins. The quickest method is to boil the acorns, changing the water every 15 minutes or so, for a few hours or until they taste less bitter.

Acorns boiling on stove – the yellowish-brown water is a good indication that it’s time to change the water

3. Once leached, the acorns should taste sweeter (though they might still have a slight hint of bitterness) and can be eaten or dried in an oven and then roasted, stored or ground into acorn meal for cooking.

After boiling, the acorns will turn brown

For a slightly longer article on processing acorns, check out my Edible Austin column from last winter at this link.

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