Acorns have been used for food and other uses for thousands of years. The Native Americans have used acorns for so many different things that it is just astonishing. Acorns can be used to create bread, griddle cakes, soup filler, tortillas, and of course my favorite breakfast food, grits.
Acorns come from Oak trees, and between the Oak trees try and find the White Oak tree, the taste tends to be better. The Red Oak acorn tends to have a more bitter taste than that of the White Oak acorn. Typically the Red Oak Acorn is not used for human consumption because it has a lot of Tannic Acid. Just a note to consider too much Tannic Acid in you and you will have Kidney failure, which in a survival situation will kill you. If you choose to eat Red Oak Acorns or you are not sure which one you have thoroughly prepare the acorns before consuming.
White v Red Acorns White acorns are easy to identify. Simply look for three things, first look for the White Oak Tree leaf. The White Oak has a leaf that is glossy dark green on top and light green on bottom. Also the edges of the leaf are rounded. he second thing to look for is the Acorn. Take the acorn and split it in half. The outer shell is smooth, and the inner meat of the acorn is white. Thus the White Oak Tree. Finally look around for animal scat. More specifically squirrel droppings with acorns in it. If the animals are eating the acorns you should be ok.
To identify the Red Oak Acorn first look at the leaf. Unlike the White Oak Tree the Red Oak has a leaf that is a dull dark green on top and dull light green on bottom. The leaf is also very pointy on the edges. The acorn itself has a smooth outer shell but the inner husk has a hairy film on it. The inner meat is also tan-ish.
As a food source acorns are abundant, especially in the South of the United States, so finding them will be very easy. Even better the acorn can be handled and prepared for cooking very easy. There are several ways to prepare the acorn for cooking. First we need to take the acorn and dry it. There are two effective methods for drying acorns, Sun Drying and Oven Drying.
Sun Drying Sun Drying is quite easy, unless you do not have any sunlight. Typically this methods requires about 5 to 7 days depending on how much sunlight you have. However find a nice dry area, either on a rock or tray and spread out your acorns until you have a single layer of acorns.
The advantages of this method are that the natural flavor of the meat is retained and the acorns stay fresh for about 4 months. The downside is that while your acorns are drying they are susceptible to insects. It is quite common for several of your acorns to become infested with worms and larvae from insects. With this being said, if you check your acorns constantly for infestations. Once they are dry though you do not have to worry about infestations as much.
Oven Drying Oven drying acorns is the best method in the wild because it requires less time, it kills all larvae in the acorns, and it prevents mold. This method does effect the flavor of the acorn. Luckily the effects of the flavor can be dealt with later with herbs.
In order to dry acorns using an oven you simply need to heat up your oven to about 170 degrees and bake the acorns for about 20 minuets. Or you can build a earth oven and use the coals of a fire to heat up the acorn between 20 and 40 minuets.
Personally I find this method best if you are going to grind the acorn meat up.
How to process Acorns When you are ready to process acorns remove the meat from the shell and you can either eat them raw, boil them, or grind them for recipes. Do know that the longer the meat of the acorn is open the faster it will begin to dry out and crack. It is best to open them when you are ready to use them.
Acorns can be used to also make Tannic Acid. Red Oak Acorns contain high concentrations of Tannic Acid. Tannic Acid is a very useful ingredient when you are trying to preserve animal hides, either for clothing or blankets. Producing Tannic Acid this way is very much preferable to many other ways. To produce Tannic Acid with Red Oak Acorns is simple. Take Red Oak Acorns put them into a pot and boil them for about 20 minuets or until the water is brown.
The broth from Acorns can be used for laundry detergent as well. It cleans clothes very well, unfortunately it does come with a side effect on white and light colored clothing, it will stain it with a tan-ish color.
As Always Folks: Prepare and Survive. Todd Out.