It has been a crazy year in so many ways, but 2020 will also go down as a great year for acorns. At least, it was a great year for the trees around our cabin above Sonora. There were tons of acorns, and they were huge.
(A big year like this is called a "mast year." The collective term for fruits and nuts is mast...so a big year is a mast year.)
And with very little else to occupy us during the COVID year, I decided it was time to collect the acorns and see what we could do with them. And I got quite a few nuts, just off our small property there. About six gallons of acorns.
As you can see, they were nice and fat.
So I watched a few ballgames and shelled acorns. At least, I shelled some of them.
And then the experiments began. Like olives, acorns on their own are stunningly bitter and tannic. You can't eat them, so you have treat them in some way to get rid of all that bitterness.
We tried leaching them whole for days (NOT successful.) and then grinding them up in a food processor and leaching them cold for days (also NOT successful.) We finally tried leaching the chopped up acorn meal in very hot (almost boiling water) and changing the water every ten minutes or so for about an hour and a half...and that worked!
Interestingly enough, as they boiled, they began to smell like porcini mushrooms. How cool is that?!?
So then we dried the acorns in the oven, so they looked like this:
And that's what we've been adding to various recipes for the last few days. I added some to my granola in the morning...eh. And M added some to her homemade bread, which was pretty good. But then M cooked up a risotto with porcinis and these acorns, and added a little ham, and it was heaven!
We have a lot of these, and that bucket is still full, so lots more to come. But in the meantime we are having great fun experimenting with free food.